# 456 (s5766-46 / 22 Av 5766)

A Bit of Good Milk

Rabbi Naftali of Ropshitz walked into his kitchen and complained, " "Don't I deserve a bit of milk?"


A Bit of Good Milk


Rabbi Naftali of Ropshitz walked into his kitchen one morning before prayers, and complained to the womenfolk who were busy there:" "For all my efforts don't I deserve a little bit of milk?"

At that time Reb Asher, his son-in-law, had not yet learned to plumb the profundity of the rebbe's words, and it bothered him that his father-in-law should become so irritated over matters so paltry as food and drink.

"I'll have to rebuke him about this some day," he thought to himself.

Just at that moment a woman came along to the tzaddik and sobbed out her plaint: "Rebbe, I am a poor widow, and I haven't enough milk with which to nurse my twin babies!"

"Go back to your home, my good woman," he answered, "and the Almighty will help you."

Reb Asher in the meantime forgot to rebuke him because his mind was occupied with his studies, and besides, his father-in-law distracted his attention from the little incident.

A few weeks later Rabbi Naftali entered the kitchen with another angry complaint: "So I'm already given a bit of milk, it's all watery. Haven't I earned some good nourishing milk?"

"This time," thought Reb Asher, "I will not keep silent. In fact I will rebuke him twice, a holy man like himself losing his temper over such trifles!"

Again his thoughts were interrupted by the bitter weeping of the same widow, who had just entered.

"Rebbe!" she cried to Rabbi Naftali. "Thank G-d I now have milk to give my little one - but it's like water, and the babies are as skinny as sticks! Won't you pray and ask the Almighty to bless me with good milk?"

"My good woman," said the tzaddik, "return home to your babies. G-d will help you and you will have good milk."

Reb Asher now began to follow the way in which the tzaddik worked, and from then on harbored no doubts as to his saintliness.

[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:
Rabbi Naftali of Rofshitz (6 Sivan 1760 [the same day as the Besht's passing!] -11 Iyar 1827) became the rebbe of many thousands of chassidim. He was noted for his sharp wit and humor and his elusive shining aphorisms. Some of his teachings are collected in his works, Zera Kodesh, Ayalah Sheluchah, and Imrei Shefer. Many stories about him appear in the book, Ohel Naftoli.

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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