# 348 (s5764-42) 18 Tammuz 5764

A Chasid Less Sensitive than a Priest

Rebbe Shlomo of Karlin took lodgings in the home of a man who did not approve of Chasidim and their lifestyles.

A Chasid Less Sensitive than a Priest

After the Maggid of Mezeritch passed away, his disciples dispersed throughout Poland and White Russia, settling in small towns and strengthening the local Jewish communities. While journeying towards the town he intended to settle in, Rebbe Shlomo of Karlin traveled through the town of Lahoisk. He took up lodging in the home of a man called Yehudah Postraver who, at the time of this incident, did not approve of chasidim and their lifestyles.

In the morning, Rebbe Shlomo expressed his desire to immerse himself in the mikvah in preparation for prayer.

"There is no mikvah here", said his host with obvious disregard for this chasidic custom.

"Is there a river nearby?"


"Then perhaps a spring of water?"

"Yes", replied his host with a tone of ridicule in his voice. "There is but one spring in this village and it is located in the backyard of the priest's house!"

Rebbe Shlomo borrowed a few sheets and made his way towards the priest's house. Word spread that a strange visitor was attempting to immerse himself in the spring which was in the backyard of this known Jew-hater. People followed him, curious to witness this unbelievable feat. Some assisted Rebbe Shlomo in holding up the sheets, allowing him privacy.

The commotion in the yard attracted the priest's attention, but Rebbe Shlomo was gone by the time he came out.

"What's going on?" he asked the local villagers who lingered behind discussing the morning's events."

"Didn't you see that Jew come into your yard and use the spring for his rituals?" they exclaimed in surprise.

"I haven't seen a thing!" replied the priest. "Go fetch that impudent man and I will teach him a lesson!"

At his bidding, messengers came to fetch Rebbe Shlomo while he was praying. However, they were stunned with fright at the sight and could not approach him.

"Then I will go myself to see this man of strange power" declared the priest. He strode over to the house and demanded to see the Rabbi.

Yehuda Pastover brought the priest's request to Rebbe Shlomo.

"No!" replied Rebbe Shlomo, "I will not look at his wicked face."

The priest left empty-handed and did not pursue the matter further. Later the Rebbe's host asked him. "How is it that this priest realized that you are a holy man, yet I, a fellow Jew did not?"

"You are not intended to be one of my followers," answered Rebbe Shlomo. "Go to Liozna, you are destined to become a chassid of Rabbi Shneur Zalman.

Yehuda Pastover followed his advice and became an ardent Chabad chassid.

[Adapted by Yrachmiel Tilles from "From My Father's Shabbos Table" (pp. 117), Eliyahu Touger's excellent selection and translation from the first two volumes of Rabbi Yehuda Chitrik's 4-volume series, Reshimat Devorim.]

Biographical note:
R. Shlomo of Karlin [1738-22 Tammuz 1792], was also a student of the Maggid, as well as of Reb Aharon the Great of Karlin, whom he succeeded in 1772. Most of the Chassidic leaders of the next generation in the Lithuanian region were his disciples. He died Al Kiddush HaShem, stabbed by a Cossack while in the midst of the Amida prayer. His adopted son, Rabbi Asher, was the first Rebbe of Stolin.


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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