#317 (s5764-08/ 17 Cheshvan)

Avraham's Jewel

Rebbe Moshe of Kobrin
always stayed at the home of the father-in-law of Rav Yosha-Ber Soloveitchik when he visited Volozhin.


Avraham's Jewel

In the early years of his marriage, the famed Rabbi Yosha-Baer Soloveitchik lived in the home of his Chasidic father-in-law, Rabbi Yitzchak Efron, in Volozhin. One time, his infant son Chaim (who was later to become the renowned Rabbi Chaim Brisker) became critically ill. The doctors were powerless.

The Chassidic Rebbe, Rabbi Moshe of Kobrin, who always stayed at the Efron home when he visited Volozhin, happened to come to town just then. Despite the crisis in Rav Yitzchak's house, the tzaddik followed the advice of our sages and did not change his lodgings (see Gen. 13:3 and commentary].

Not only did he lodge at the Efrons', but when he heard about the sick child he even requested that the table be set for a meal! Everyone was astonished, but Rabbi Yitzchak, who trusted the tzaddik, did as bidden.

At the meal, the Kobriner said: "We learn in the Talmud, in Baba Basra, that a precious jewel hung from the neck of our patriarch Avraham. Any ill person who gazed at it was immediately cured.

"What was this precious jewel?" he asked. He then went on to answer his own question. "The precious jewel of Avraham was the trait that he exemplified -- kindness to others - as manifested in his boundless hospitality. This is the "jewel" that hung from his neck.

"When Avraham died, the Almighty hung it from the sun, the sphere that shines everywhere in the world. Whenever a Jew practices hospitality, the merit of G-d's beloved Avraham assists in healing the patient through this jewel.

"Therefore, in the merit of our Reb Yitzhak's hospitality at this very moment, his grandson Chaim'le should be cured speedily. Let the child focus his eyes upon the jewel, and he will be healed."

And so it happened.

[Adapted by Yrachmiel Tilles from the Chazon newsletter (chazon1@netvision.net.il), whose source was an out-of-print book about Litvishe gedolim, "Giants of Jewry" by Aharon Surasky.]

Biographical note:
Rabbi Moshe Pallier of Kobrin [1784 - 29 Nisan 1858] was a close follower of the Rebbe, R. Mordechai of Lechovitch and afterwards of his son, R. Noach. In 1833 he became the first Rebbe of the Kobrin dynasty, with thousands of chassidim, many of whom subsequently moved to Eretz Yisroel. His teachings are collected in Imros Taharos.
Rabbi Yosef-Ber HaLevi Soloveitchik (1820-1892) was the great-grandson of Rabbi Chayim Itzkowitz of Volozhin, the main student of the Vilna Gaon and the progenitor of the Lithuanian yeshiva movement. He was an influential teacher in the famed yeshiva of Volozhin and subsequently the chief rabbi and rosh yeshiva of Brisk. He is often referred to as the Beit HaLevi, after his important books of Torah thought and responsa.
Rabbi Chayim HaLevi Soloveitchik (1853 - 21 Av 1918) also lectured in the Volozhin yeshiva for many years. In 1892 he succeeded his father as chief rabbi and rosh yeshiva of Brisk. His analytical methodology revolutionized the in-depth study of Talmud until this day.


Yrachmiel Tilles is co-founder and associate director of Ascent-of-Safed, and editor of Ascent Quarterly and the AscentOfSafed.com and KabbalaOnline.org websites. He has hundreds of published stories to his credit.

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