Weekly Chasidic Story #1296 (5783-03) 14 Tishrei 5783 (Oct.9, 2022)

"Roof Boards"

If a Jew was on the poor side, finding boards out of which to build the walls of his sukkah was always a problem.

Connection: SUKKOT


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Roof Boards

If a Jew was on the poor side, finding boards out of which to build the walls of his sukkah was always a problem. Year after year, therefore, Rabbi Mordechai of Lechovitch used to prepare a stock of them, and lend them out to the poor folk of the town during the few days between Yom Kippur and the festival of Sukkot.

One year, on a Friday, the very eve of Sukkot, a threadbare cobbler, lame in one leg, made his way up to the door of the tzadik. Could he borrow just a few planks for his sukkah? The tzadik answered that there were none left.

Looking out his window, he then saw the ragged fellow limping from house to house, still in search of a few boards. He felt so sorry for him that he burst into tears.

"Master of the Universe!" he cried. "Just look how Your children cherish the mitzvah of living in a sukkah! See with what self-sacrifice they are determined to fulfill it! It's raining outside. The alleys are full of mud and mire. Yet there he tramps, that ragged cobbler, lame in one leg, and wearing torn shoes - looking for boards for a sukkah!

"Look down, then, Master of the Universe, from Your holy dwelling place in heaven. Bless Your People Israel - and spread out over them Your Sukkah, Your Shelter of Peace."

The tzadik then climbed up to the roof of his house, and searched about until he found a few boards. These he handed to his attendant with the instruction that he should run after the cobbler with them; and since it was the eve of Shabbat, when time would be even shorter than usual, he should help him to build his sukkah as well!

Source: Adapted by Yerachmiel Tilles from A Treasury of Chassidic Tales, as translated by R. Uri Kaploun from Sipurei Chasidim - Festivals (the 1st Sukkot story) by Rabbi S. Y. Zevin.

Biographic notes:
Rabbi Mordechai of Lechovitch (1742 - 15 Tishrei 1810), was a direct male-line descendant of Rashi, the foremost Torah commentator, as well as of the renowned Torah scholar, Rabbi Mordechai Yoffe (1530 - 1612), known as the Levush. was a disciple of Rebbe Shlomo of Karlin. He was known for the fervor of his prayers, and for being exceedingly charitable, particularly toward the poor of Eretz Yisrael.

Connection: SUKKOT

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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