Weekly Chasidic Story #1009b (132 1st half revised) (s5777-28 / 13 Nissan 5777)

Mining the Table

A foremost desire of all chasidim since the days of the Baal Shem Tov has been to participate in the Passover Seder of their Rebbe.The "Holy Yid" of Peshischa was one of those who chose to be surrounded by chasidim on Seder night.

Connection: Seasonal--PASSOVER!

Compiler's note: Nineteen years ago (19!), in the very first year of this list, I mailed one of my longest stories ever (#132) for Pesach. It was really two stories combined. Subsequently, in preparation for "Festivals of the Full Moon," I divided it into to separate stories and revised them extensively. Only the second one ended up in "Festivals", so here is the first - why waste a good story!

Mining the Table


A foremost desire of all chasidim since the days of the Baal Shem Tov has been to participate in the Passover Seder of their Rebbe. How else can one experience the true meaning of freedom in this "Festival of our Freedom?" However, while the chasidim are unanimous in this matter, the Rebbes themselves are far from being so. Some encourage their chasidim to join them, while others are adamant that the appropriate place to be for Seder is with one's family.

The "Holy Yid" of Peshischa was one of those who chose to be surrounded by chasidim on Seder night. One year, his guest list included Rabbi Yaakov Aryeh of Vorki and Rychivol. Although he then was barely twenty years old and not nearly yet as learned or sharp as some of the senior disciples such as Rabbi Bunim of Peshischa or Rabbi Mendele of Kotzk, the Rebbe saw in him a special innocence and purity, especially when he poured out his heart in prayer.

Several days before the festival, the fortunate chasidim gathered in the large Beis Midrash to prepare themselves to spend the holiday in close proximity to their great Rebbe. Their joy was matched only by the distress and apprehension of the Rebbetzin, who try as she might could not begin to imagine where they could possibly obtain the funds for the mounting expenses of the holiday, and especially with the voluminous crowd of guests. Many times already she had tried to discuss the problem with her husband, but he always managed to push her off. Finally, unable to bear the tension and pressure any longer, she strode into the Beis Midrash, walked over to R. Yaakov, and said to him, "I'm sorry, but you can't be our guest this Pesach. The house is empty; if you stay here you will have to fast!"

R. Yaakov got the message. He rose and, mustering all of his courage, entered the Rebbe's holy room. The Rebbe looked up at him quizzically. R. Yaakov explained as meekly as he could that the Rebbetzin was greatly disturbed by their impoverished situation, and there was a real need for much money for all the necessary purchases.

"Yankele," "responded the Rebbe, "lift the right leg of my table and pick up the gold dinar that is there."

R. Yaakov did so. Amazed, he hurried to the Rebbetzin to give her the precious coin.

The Rebbetzin, for her part, was troubled by the episode. "If the gold dinar was there the whole time," she said to herself, "why didn't he give it to me already a long time ago when I first started going to him about the money-for-Pesach problem. And if it is a miraculous present from Heaven, why didn't he arrange this wonder before-is this Yankele's merit really greater than mine?"

The more she thought about it the angrier she became. In the end, she stormed into the Rebbe's room and demanded an explanation. Her husband calmed her and then said, "Lift the left table leg and take the dinar that is there." Wonderingly, she did so, and lo, another gold coin! She took it, added it to its mate in her purse, and went off happily to the market where she bought everything they could possibly need for the Passover Festival.

That Pesach was forever engraved in R. Yaakov's memory. In addition to the spiritual pleasure of spending it at the Rebbe's table, it had become clear that a miracle had been done through him: for sure the Holy Yid never had in his possession even one gold dinar, never mind two!

Tragically, the Holy Yid went to his heavenly reward in 1813 at the young age of 48. R. Yaakov, who in the future would become a Rebbe in his own right, known as the "Sabba Kadisha" (holy grandfather) of Radzmin, continued to try to be close to the leading tzadikim of the generation in Poland and Galicia.

Source: Translated and retold by Yerachmiel Tilles, mainly from Si'ach Tsaddikim, pp. 42-48 (and first published in Kfar Chabad Magazine).

Biographical notes:
R. Yaakov Yitzchak, 1766 - 19 Tishrei 1813, The "Holy Jew"of Peshischa, was the leading disciple of the "Seer" of Lublin, but subsequently split off to form the famous Peshischa movement of Chassidus. Rabbi Simcha Bunim of Peshischa and Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Kotsk were among his many disciples who became great Rebbes in their own right.

R. Yaakov Aryeh Guterman, 1792 - 18 Tammuz 1874, the "Sabba Kadisha" (holy grandfather) of Radzmin, was a disciple of Rabbis Yaakov Yitzchak and Simcha Bunim of Peshischa and of Rabbi Yitzchak of Vorki, who he succeeded as Rebbe in 1848. He was famed as a miracle maker.

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.

To receive the Story by e-mail every Wednesday--sign up here!

"Festivals of the Full Moon"
(Under the Full Moon" vol 2 - holiday stories)
is now available for purchase from ASCENT
* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *

Book 1 of Yerachmiel Tilles's 3-volume set, "Saturday Night, Full Moon",
is also available for
purchase on our KabbalaOnline-shop site.

Important notice: Due to a change in publishers, both books will no longer be available online or in stores
until November --


back to Top   back to this year's Story Index   Stories home page   Stories Archives
Redesign and implementation - By WEB-ACTION