Once a month, on the eve of Rosh Chodesh,
it was the custom of Rebbe Menachem Mendel of Rimminov to send out
two supervisors to all the shops in town to see whether the weights
and measures being used were sound. One of those sent on a certain
occasion was Reb Zvi Hirsch, his faithful attendant and disciple,
who was later to succeed his rebbe. Arriving with his partner at the
shop of a certain wealthy businessman who had once dabbled in scholarship,
he found an undersized liquid measure. When Reb Zvi Hirsch rebuked
him for his carelessness, the shopkeeper answered that it was not
used for measuring.
"But there is an explicit law on the subject," said Reb
Zvi Hirsch. "Our Sages teach us that a man is forbidden to have
an oversized or undersized measure in his house, even if it is used
as a pail for garbage."
The shopkeeper's retort was brazen. Borrowing a phrase remembered
from the Book of Samuel, he asked: "Is Shaul also one of the
prophets?! Does our Reb Zvi Hirsch too go about laying down the Law?"
In reaction to this, Reb Zvi took the measure in hand and trampled
When he returned from his day's rounds and was asked by the rebbe
if everything was in order, Reb Zvi Hirsch concealed that incident,
being afraid that the wrath of the rebbe would be kindled against
the arrogant offender. But Reb Menachem Mendel got to hear of the
story from the man who accompanied him.
He immediately instructed his shammes to announce that the
townsmen should all assemble in the synagogue to hear a sermon, but
though he was to knock with his cane on all the shutters according
to custom, he was to ignore the house of that offender.
The shopkeeper heard that the rebbe was speaking on the subject of
weights and measures, and realized that this whole tempest was brought
about on his account. He went to the synagogue of his own accord,
and as a sign of contriteness removed his shoes in preparation for
begging forgiveness of the tzaddik. Reb Menachem Mendel promised to
forgive him on condition that by way of a fine he undertake to donate
fifty gold ducats to charity.
Before the shopkeeper arrived at the synagogue to humbly make amends,
someone noticed that the lips of Reb Zvi Hirsch were muttering something.
Asked what he was saying, he replied: "Only a little prayer that
the man should not be punished before he comes to make peace with
[From A Treasury of Chassidic Tales (Artscroll), as translated
by the incomparable Uri Kaploun.]
Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Rimminov [?-19 Iyar 1815],.was an
important Rebbe in the third generation of hassidism. His was a main
disciple of the Rebbe Elimelech, and many rebbes of the succeeding
generation studied with him. His teachings are collected in Menachem
Zion and other works.
Rebbe Zvi Hirsh of Rimminov [1778-29 Cheshvan 1847] was the
attendant of the well-known Rebbe, R. Menachem Mendel of Rimminov,
and subsequently his successor. He had a reputation as a miracle worker.
Some of his teachings are collected in Mevasser Tov and in