Weekly Chasidic Story #1009b (132 1st half revised)
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
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
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
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
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
Source: Translated and retold by Yerachmiel Tilles, mainly from
Si'ach Tsaddikim, pp. 42-48 (and first published in Kfar Chabad Magazine).
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.
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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"Festivals of the
(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
Important notice: Due
to a change in publishers, both
books will no longer be available online or in stores
until November --
ONLY THROUGH US!
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