#442 (s5766-32 / 12 Iyar 5766)

Speak Up

"Why did you not mention this until now?" asked the Seer of Lublin.


Speak Up

With three daughters to marry off, and not one wretched kopek in the cottage with which to begin to put together dowries and weddings, the wife of Reb Mordechai of Pintchov nagged him incessantly to describe their woeful situation to his rebbe, the Seer of Lublin. Time after time he would travel to Lublin, but never once did he mention his troubles to the rebbe, because on arriving there he would forget them completely.

Finally fed up, but being a practical woman, his wife decided to say nothing more. Instead, she would make the journey there herself by a separate wagon immediately after he had left home.

When Reb Mordechai arrived at Lublin, he was confronted by the fact of his wife's presence. There was no way out -- and he told the rebbe what the state of affairs was at home.

"Why did you never mention this until now?" asked the Seer.

"Rebbe," answered the chassid, "I assumed that my situation would be known to you through ruach hakodesh, through the holy spirit that rests upon you."

"Not so," answered the rebbe. "In the case of plagues of the soul, the Torah says: 'A man in the skin of whose flesh there shall be… a plague of tzara'at shall be brought to Aharon the kohen….and the kohen shall see the plague.' That is to say: As soon as the ailing man is brought before him, the kohen will discern the malady himself, without being told.

"In the case of plagues that affect houses, however, the Torah teaches us otherwise: 'And he who owns the house shall come and tell the kohen, saying: Something like a plague seems to be in the house.' From this we see that with plagues affecting houses -- the needs of a household -- one is obliged to come to the kohen and speak up and tell him of them…"

[Selected and adapted by Yrachmiel Tilles from the rendition in A Treasury of Chassidic Tales (Artscroll), as translated by our esteemed colleague Uri Kaploun from Sipurei Chasidim by Rabbi S. Y. Zevin.]

Biographical note:
R. Yaakov Yitzchok Horowitz (1745 - 9 Av 1815), known as 'the Chozeh (Seer) of Lublin', was the successor to R. Elimelech of Lizensk (1717-1787), and leader of the spread of chassidus in Poland. Many of his insights were published posthumously in Divrei Emmes, Zichron Zos, and Zos Zichron.


Yrachmiel Tilles is co-founder and associate director of Ascent-of-Safed, and editor of Ascent Quarterly and the AscentOfSafed.com and KabbalaOnline.org websites. He has hundreds of published stories to his credit.

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