Weekly Chasidic Story #1003 (s5777-21 / 24 Shvat 5777)

Crying Continuously in Honor of Shabbat

The chief rabbi was perplexed, so he advised her to see Rabbi Yosef Rosen, known as the Rogotshover Gaon.

Connection: Weekly Reading -- The Goring Ox (Ex 21:28-30)


Crying Continuously in Honor of Shabbat

Once a woman came to Rabbi Meir-Simcha HaKohen, the chief rabbi of Dvinsk, Latvia. She had a grave problem with her newly born infant. She had visited every doctor in the city and in the surrounding towns but none could help her.

Her newborn child was breast-fed six days a week in perfect harmony. But when it came to Shabbat or Yom Tov the child refused to suckle. He would cry continuously and the frantic mother feared for his health.

She now approached the rabbi, seeking advice. The rabbi was perplexed and he advised her to see the famous Talmudic scholar and genius, Rabbi Yosef Rosen, known as the Rogatchover Gaon, who was the rabbinic authority for the Chasidic community in Dvinsk.

The woman visited the Rogatchover and described her case, imploring him to help her. Upon hearing her story, the Rogatchover told her to return to "the Kohen" and tell him to look up a certain page in the Talmud Yerushalmi* where he would find the answer.

The woman returned to Rabbi Meyer-Simcha and give him the Rogatchover 's message. The rabbi, who was well-known for his proficiency in the Jerusalem Talmud, opened the Gemara and came across the following passage: An ox who gored others more than three times, but only on Saturdays and holidays, is considered a "muad" (a habitual offender) only on those days but not on weekdays. For it is the change of clothes, the different garb that the people wear on Shabbat and Yom Tov, that causes the ox to gore.

The rabbi quickly grasped the Rogatchover's intent and the meaning of this passage in relation to the woman. The baby, seeing a different garb, had become frightened and refused to suckle. Accordingly, Rabbi Meir-Simcha advised the woman to wear the same weekday dress on Shabbat when she fed the infant.

The woman followed this advice and it proved successful.

Source: Adapted and supplemented by Yerachmiel Tilles from the rendition in Chassid Gems by Tuvia Litzman.


Biographical note:
Rabbi Yosef Rosen, known as the Rogatchover Gaon [of blessed memory: 5618 - 11 Adar, 5696 (1858 - March 1936 C.E.)], was an unparalleled genius, whose in-depth understanding of all Talmudic literature left the greatest of scholars awestruck. He authored tens of thousands of responsa on the Talmud and Jewish law, of which many have been compiled in the numerous volumes of Tzafnat Paneach. He served for decades as the chief rabbi of the chasidic congregations of the Latvian city of Dvinsk (Daugavpils).

Rabbi Meir-Simcha HaKohen of Dvinsk [of blessed memory: 5603 - 4 Elul 5626 (1843 - August 1926)], an exemplary rabbinical scholar, is renowned for two works: Ohr Samayach, a brilliant commentary on the Rambam's codification of Jewish Law, Mishneh Torah, and Meshech Chochmah, a profound commentary on Chumash ("the Five Books of Moses"). He served as Rabbi of Dvinsk for nearly 40 years, in 1906 turning down the offer to be the chief rabbi of Jerusalem.

Connection: Weekly Reading -- The Goring Ox (Ex 21:28-30)

Yerachmiel Tilles is co-founder and associate director of Ascent-of-Safed, and chief editor of this website (and of KabbalaOnline.org). He has hundreds of published stories to his credit, and many have been translated into other languages. He tells them live at Ascent nearly every Saturday night.

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