# 331 (s5764-23/ 3 Adar)

The Exceptional Fast

"I'm surpised at your strange behavior," he rebuked Rabbi Yitzchak of Drobovitch."


The Exceptional Fast

Deeply worried, Reb Yosephah made his way to the Beth Medrash Study Hall of Ostrah. As he walked in, the young men looked up in respect and anticipation, for he was the supporter of many of the young scholars who came to study there.

"My daughter is very ill," he announced solemnly. "Here is an added stipend for each of you. Please fast and pray for her recovery." He handed each student an envelope with money and they promised to fulfill his request.

And so they did. Or rather, so did all of them but one. Rabbi Yitzchak Drohovitcher, who was then but a young man, spent the money at a local grocery, purchasing a hearty meal for himself. While all the others committed themselves to fast, he sat down to eat.

Soon, word spread that the young girl's condition had taken a change for the better and the crisis had passed. Later, when she fully recovered, Reb Yosephah invited everyone to a thanksgiving celebration. At the feast, he reproved Rabbi Yitzchak, "I am surprised at your strange, disrespectful behavior. While all your fellow students were immersed in prayer and fasting, you indulged in a meal."

Rabbi Yitzchak answered quietly: "Fasting is nothing out of the ordinary for me. Quite the contrary, having enough money to purchase a meal is exceptional. Thus, when I sat down to eat, the angels asked: 'Why has Yitzchak been able to purchase a wholesome meal during the week?' Other angels responded, relating that my meal came about because of your generosity.

"Therefore, it was decreed that generosity should be shown to you as well, and your daughter granted a speedy recovery."

[Adapted by Yrachmiel Tilles from "From My Father's Shabbos Table" (p. 90), Eliyahu Touger's excellent selection and translation from Rabbi Yehuda Chitrik's 4-volume series, Reshimat Devorim.]

Biographical note:
Rabbi Yitzchak of Drohovitch--a leading kabbalist in his generation and father of R. Yechiel Michel Zlotchov (1731-1786), a major disciple of the Baal Shem Tov, who first went to the Besht as a boy with his father.


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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