DIFFERENT FORM OF MANNA
It was the custom of Rabbi Zusha of Anipoli,
to recite his morning prayers at length. After he concluded, he would
retire to his room next to the shul. Once there, he would open the
window and, lifting his eyes to the heavens, call out, "Master
of the World, Zusha (he always referred to himself in the third person)
is very hungry and desires to eat something!"
Every morning, his attendant would wait until he heard R' Zusha's
appeal, then he would bring in R' Zusha's morning meal of cake with
a little schnapps.
One morning the attendant thought to himself, "Why doesn't R'
Zusha ask me directly for his meal. In fact, who does he think he
is fooling by calling out to G-d like that. He knows full well that
I bring him his food everyday." So on the spot he decided that
the next morning he would not bring R' Zusha's meal when he called
out. He would just wait to see what would happen and where
R' Zusha's would look for his meal.
The next morning, R' Zusha awoke as usual, well before the light of
day. As he did every morning, he first went to the town mikveh
to immerse himself in preparation for the day's holy work. The night
had been a rainy one in Anipoli, and the streets of the town had already
turned to rivers of mud. In order to get from one side of the street
to another, one had to cross on narrow planks that were laid across
the flowing mud. As R' Zusha was crossing in the direction of the
mikveh, a man whom he didn't recognize, a guest in town, was
coming towards R' Zusha from the other side. When he saw R' Zusha,
gaunt, almost emaciated, dressed in rags without a tooth in his mouth,
the stranger yelled out, "Tramp!", and with a hearty laugh
jumped up and down on the plank causing R' Zusha to tumble into the
R' Zusha didn't say a word. He calmly picked himself out of the mud
and continued on his way to the mikveh, while the stranger
sauntered off into the distance, chuckling merrily the whole way as
he re-enacted his clever maneuver over and over in his mind. When
he arrived back at the inn where he was staying, he couldn't help
but brag to the innkeeper about his amusing prank. The innkeeper didn't
laugh so quickly. He asked the guest to describe the tramp whom he
had catapulted into the mud. Upon hearing, he clapped his hands to
his head and cried out in anguish, " Oy ! Oy vavoy! Do
you know what you did? That was not just some itinerant, that was
the Rebbe Reb Zusha!"
Now it was the turn of the guest to cry out "Oy vavoy,"
for R' Zusha was known to all as a holy tzadik. Trembling,
the guest struck his breast, "Oy vey, Oy Vey! What am
I going to do now? What am I going to do!"
"Don't worry," exclaimed the innkeeper, regaining his composure.
"Listen to me. I know what you should do. R' Zusha spends many
hours every morning in prayer. When he is finished he goes into his
private room next to the shul. There he opens the window, and anybody
can see how he thrusts his head out, and calls toward the heavens,
'Master of the World, Zusha is very hungry and desires to eat something!'
So, I'll prepare some cakes and some schnapps for you to take to him.
When you hear him call out to the Creator, you go in immediately with
this gift, and offer it to him and beg his forgiveness. I'm certain
that he will forgive you whole-heartedly."
That morning, like every morning, after the prayers, R' Zusha went
into his room, opened the window and called out, "Master of the
World, Zusha is very hungry and desires to eat something!" The
attendant, upon hearing R' Zusha, held his ground and clasped his
folded arms together even tighter, waiting to see what the outcome
would be. "Let Master of the World bring him his cake this morning",
he huffed to himself.
Suddenly the door to the shul opened and a man, holding a large plate
of cakes and a bottle of schnapps came in and made his way to the
room of R' Zusha. He went straight in, put the cakes on the table,
and then fell to the floor in grief, begging the tzadik for
his forgiveness (which he was certainly granted).
Then the attendant came to understand that it really was the Master
of the World who brought R' Zusha his breakfast every morning.
Adapted by Yrachmiel Tilles from www.nishmas.org, the website
of Nishmas Chayim Yeshiva in Jerusalem, of which Rabbi Benyamin
Adilman is the Rosh Yeshiva and author of a very interesting,
but sporadic weekly parsha sheet, B'ohelei Tzaddikim.
Rabbi Zusha of Anapoli (?- 2 Shvat 1800), was a major
disciple of the Maggid of Mezritch, successor to the Baal
Shem Tov. The seemingly unsophisticated but clearly inspired "Reb
Zusha" is one of the best known and most beloved Chassidic personalities.
He and his famous brother, Rebbe Elimelech of Lizensk, spent many
years wandering in exile, for esoteric reasons.
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