#565 (s5768-55 / 23 Elul 5768)

A Rebbe's Work Tools

When Rabbi Sar-Sholom of Belz traveled to the wedding of his son, he was stopped at the Russian border.

A Rebbe's Work Tools


When the famous tzadik (pure, holy man) Rabbi Sholom Rokach, the first Rebbe of Belz, traveled to the wedding of his son (and successor) Reb Yehoshua, he and his entourage were stopped at the Russian border. Czarist Russia oppressed all Jews, and Rebbes even more, and they didn't want another Rebbe in their country, even for a few days. So the Rebbe and his group stayed a long time in the border city of Chortkov.

Upon being informed that they were running short of money, the Rebbe said, "I must unpack my work tools." The chasidim were bewildered--is the Rebbe a carpenter?

"No," he replied. "Announce in the city that anyone who needs 'special help' ('a yeshua' meaning 'salvation': inspired help from heaven) should come and offer a contribution, and he will get what he wants."

Several people came, one of them a boy who was crippled from birth! Upon leaving the Rebbe's house, he threw away his crutches. This caused an uproar, and people started streaming to the house. Amongst them was a boy who had been blind from birth, and the doctors had given up hope for him. The Rebbe passed his holy hands over his eyes, and he left the Rebbe's house seeing -- a second wonder. Quickly the word spread around the whole district that there is a miracle worker in Chortkov.

Nor far from Chortkov lived an elderly tzadik, Rebbe Chaim Kosover (the grandfather of the first Viznitzer Rebbe). He was disturbed by this, and went to see the younger "miracle worker" himself. Apparently there is also a limit to how much a tzadik is permitted to change nature.

The Belzer Rebbe welcomed him with great respect and honor, and assured him there was no change of nature here. He explained thus: "The boy's mother was once engaged to another young man, but she had regrets about it and cancelled the engagement, and married another man. (This is rare in certain religious circles, where it is strongly discouraged and considered preferable to marry and divorce. -E.R.)

"The poor first man got sick, and died, literally, of a broken heart. When his soul came up above, he said he wants to call the kallah (bride) to the Court (since she caused him to die, he wants her to die to come stand with him for judgment in the heavenly court-E.R.).

"They told him that her time has not yet come, but what vengeance would you like? He requested that the first son she would have should be blind. They agreed, and told him that when her first boy is born, he-- the soul--must go down and cover the boy's eyes and stay there in order for this to be carried out. And so it happened.

"When the boy came in to my room, I saw the fiancee's soul blocking his eyes, and I said to him, 'Enough, you can go back up already.'

"So you see, Reb Chaim, it really wasn't a miracle at all!"



Adapted by Yerachmiel Tilles from geocities.com/theholypeople/. Ezra Rebhun, an American-born graduate of Brandeis University, is today a chasidic Jew living in the holy land. He heard this story from Reb Moishe Ortner z'l, who heard it from the previous Belzer Rebbe, Rebbe Aharon. (He adds that it is also written in Hebrew in the first volume of Admorei Belze by Reb Yisroel Klapholtz z"l, page 175)

Biographic note:
Rabbi Sar Shalom of Belz [1779 - 27 Elul 1855] was the first of the Belz chasidic dynasty. He became the main rebbe of Jewry in Galicia, and had tens of thousands of chasidim. His teachings are collected in Dover Shalom.

Yerachmiel 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, and many have been translated into other languages.

A 48 page soft-covered booklet containing eleven of his most popular stories may be ordered on our store site.

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