249 (s5762-44/15 Av)
WHEN THE MOON IS FULL
"Please go order for me mezuzot from Reb Reuven, the sofer,"
said Rebbe Schneur Zalman of Liozna..
THE MOON IS FULL
Rabbi Schneur Zalman (the first Chabad
Rebbe) was once visited by a melamed (teacher) from
"I have a small favor to ask of you," the Alter Rebbe
said. "On your way home, please go through the town of Yanowitz
and order for me mezuzot from Reb Reuven, the sofer
[scribe]," he said.
Delighted with the opportunity to fulfill his Rebbe's request,
the chassid departed immediately. Along the way he thought,
"I think I'll ask Reb Reuven to write some mezuzot for
me as well. Yes, despite the high price, I'll get a few. After all
is there any greater proof of their quality than that the Rebbe
himself buys his mezuzot from Reb Reuven?"
When the chassid arrived at the house of the scribe, he ordered the
mezuzot for both the Alter Rebbe and himself. Reb Reuven
told him he would have to wait several days. True to his word, a few
days later the mezuzot were ready.
"Be careful not to mix up your mezuzot with the Rebbe's
mezuzot," Reb Reuven cautioned, the melamed as
he handed them over, carefully indicating which package was which.
The melamed decided to intentionally give the Alter Rebbe
the wrong ones, and take the Rebbe's mezuzot for himself.
He rationalized "What possible harm could come from substituting
one batch of mezuzot for the other? If the Rebbe notices
the change I can always apologize for having mixed them up."
When the melamed arrived in Lubavitch he rushed to the Rebbe's
house to give him the mezuzot. The Rebbe carefully examined
the package and looked intently at each of the mezuzot. Then
he turned towards his chassid and said, "Are these the ones Reb
Reuven sent to me?"
The melamed became nervous and reluctantly answered, "Perhaps
I made a mistake and confused yours with the ones I bought for myself."
So he took out the second parcel and handed them to the Rebbe.
The Rebbe scrutinized them closely. Finally he looked up and
said, happily, "Ah, yes. These are the mezuzot I ordered."
Upset and confused, the melamed went back to Yanowitz to confront
the sofer, Reb Reuven. "Why did you sell me mezuzot
that were not good?" he demanded in a loud voice.
He recounted to the scribe that he had mistakenly given the Rebbe
the wrong package. Then he described in detail the Rebbe's
reaction to the first set (the ones designated by Reb Reuven as the
melamed's mezuzot) and then to the second (the ones
designated by Reb Reuven as the Rebbe's mezuzot).
"It must be," he concluded, "that the first mezuzot
were no good."
Reb Reuven answered gently. "Rest assured that your mezuzot
were also written, as were the Rebbe's, to the most stringent specifications,
with the same concentration of thought, and with all the requirements
set forth by the holy Ari of Safed. The only difference between
the two sets is that I had prior instructions from the Rebbe
to write his only when the moon is full. That is why you had to wait
several days in Yanowitz - I could not begin to write the Rebbe's
mezuzot until the full moon. The Rebbe must have seen
that the mezuzot you gave him were written before the full
moon and so suspected they were the wrong ones."
There is much to learn from this story.
Adapted by Yrachmiel Tilles from www.besht.com.
Rabbi Shneur Zalman [18 Elul 1745-24 Tevet 1812], one
of the main disciples of the Maggid of Mezritch, is the founder
of the Chabad-Chasidic movement. He is the author of Shulchan Aruch
HaRav and Tanya as well as many other major works in both
Jewish law and the mystical teachings.