Weekly Chasidic Story #861 (s5774-39 / 26
Miraculous Shabbat Stew
Nobody realized what a lofty level Rabbi
Shlomo Goldman of Zvhil was on until the following story happened.
Connection: Seasonal--69th yahrzeit of Rebbe Shlomke
Miraculous Shabbat Stew
Although Rabbi Shlomo Goldman of Zivhil, known as "Reb Shlomke,"
was acknowledged by all as a genuine Chasidic Rebbe, he still managed to conceal
the extent of his greatness. Everyone knew he was learned, and inspired; what
they did not realize was what a lofty spiritual level Reb Shlomke was on until
the following story happened:
In Zivhil was a drunkard whom we shall call Andrei. He was basically harmless,
being content with a bottle or two of vodka. Although Andrei was not Jewish,
he liked to frequent the Jewish section of town, because he knew from experience
that he wouldn't get beaten up there like would happen to him in other parts
of town, and he was also aware that the Jews were compassionate people, who
would give him food when he went begging.
One Saturday morning, after a big drinking binge the previous night, Andrei
felt especially hungry. He knocked on several doors, but got no answer, as it
was Shabbat and the residents were in shul. The next house he went to
also yielded no response, but he noticed the door was not locked properly. The
homeowners, in their rush to get to shul had left the door unlocked.
Andrei opened the door, and was greeted by a set table with beautiful golden
braided loaves of challah, a decanter filled with red wine, and other delicacies.
There was a heavenly aroma coming from the stove; the smell of the cholent*
and kugel** was making his mouth water.
* A stew left on the Shabbat stove overnight from before sunset
** A sometimes sweet casserole, usually based on noodles or potatoes
Andrei didn't know where to start. The wine attracted him the most, but he thought
it would be best to get some food in his empty stomach first. He opened up the
pot of cholent and scooped out a big portion for himself, which he shoved
down his throat like a man who had never seen food before. A huge piece of kugel
followed the cholent.
At this point, he heard people outside, walking home from shul, and he
thought it would be best to leave the house right away, before he would be caught
red-handed. He was still chewing his food, as he headed for the door, but was
stopped in his tracks by the golden challah on the table; it looked so
good and he was still so hungry. He ripped out a huge chunk of challah,
took a big bite from it and reached for the doorknob.
Andre had so much food in his mouth that he couldn't chew properly. A piece
of challah went down the wrong pipe and he couldn't breathe. Andrei gasped
for air and his face turned colors, as he began to choke on the challah,
and moments later he fell down, dead, in front of the door.
A few minutes later, the couple who lived in this house arrived home. They tried
opening the door but there was something preventing the door from opening more
than a crack. The husband pushed with all his might and got the door opened.
They walked into the house and looked to see what was blocking the door. They
were in a state of shock when they saw, Andrei, the town drunkard, lying on
the floor of their house.
The husband stated shaking him and yelling at him to get out of his house, but
soon realized that Andrei was completely lifeless. He saw the big chunk of challah
next to Andrei and surmised what had transpired. They began to panic. Just recently
there had been pogroms in the area. If people found out that Andrei was found
dead in a Jews' house they will accuse the Jews of killing him. Even though
they couldn't care less about Andrei, they would use any opportunity to attack
the Jews. The wife told the husband to go run to the Rebbe, Reb Shlomke, and
ask for his advice.
The homeowner rushed over to the Rebbe's house and told him what happened. The
Rebbe concurred with him that the townspeople might use this as an excuse to
make another pogrom. Reb Shlomke took a spoonful of his cholent and told
him to take it and put it into the dead drunkard's mouth. Thoughts started going
through the man's mind--how could he feed a dead man?--but he did not ask any
questions. He was a simple Jew who had complete trust in whatever the Rebbe
He walked home briskly, being careful not to drop the cholent. He tried to put
the cholent in Andrei's mouth, but his mouth was sealed shut. So the
man said in a panic "Reb Shlomke said I should feed you the cholent".
At the mention of the Rebbe's name, the lifeless drunkard opened his mouth,
and the man quickly placed the Rebbe's cholent in as far as he could.
He almost fainted from fright due to what he saw next. Andrei got up from the
floor and looking straight ahead, walked out the door.
The man followed Andrei, curious to see what would happen. Andrei walked across
town, in a zombie-like manner, looking straight ahead. After several minutes,
Andrei arrived at his own residence. As soon as he stepped inside, he fell down
to the floor, lifeless as before.
The man ran back to his house to tell his wife over what happened. They had
just witnessed an open miracle. They had seen a dead man get up and walk across
town to his house. They now realized that Reb Shlomke was a lot more than he
made himself out to be.
The story spread quickly and everyone now knew that their Rebbe was a very holy
man, who had tried to conceal his greatness. It is said that this event is what
prompted Reb Shlomke to start thinking about moving to another place, where
people wouldn't know him.
Eventually he did move to Jerusalem, where he managed to conceal his identity
until one day someone from Zivhil bumped into him in shul and revealed
to everyone who he was. After that throngs of people flocked to him for his
advice and help until his passing on 26 Iyar*** 5705/1945. One of the tzadikim
at the funeral smelled different fragrant spices coming from Reb Shlomke's body.
Later on, he asked Reb Shlomke's son, Reb Gedaliah, what the source of this
custom was. Reb Gedalia replied that they have no such custom. They realized
that this beautiful smell was actually from this great tzadik himself.
May his memory be a blessing.
The 41st day of Counting Omer, Yesod sh'b'Yesod in Kabbalah,
associated with essence of righteousness.
Source: Adapted by Yerachmiel Tilles from //zchusavos.blogspot.co.il
(posted: May 13, 2007)
Connection: Seasonal-69th yahrzeit of Rebbe Shlomke.
Rabbi Shlomo ("Reb Shlom'ke") Goodman of Zivhil (?-26 Iyar--yesod
of yesod--1945), the first one of the dynasty to be based in Israel, was
a descendent in direct paternal line from Rabbi Yechiel-Michil, an important
student of the Baal Shem Tov known as the Magid of Zlochov. For a long time
after he came to Jerusalem, no one knew his true identity as the very holy Rebbe
to whom thousands had flocked in his native land, until a chance visitor from
his hometown revealed his secret to the stunned worshipers in the shul
he was attending. So once again he acquired thousands of followers and admirers.
Famed for his remarkable deeds of kindness, he particularly concentrated on
rescuing youths from missionaries and inculcating the importance of the laws
of family purity to the masses, while still finding time to answer complicated
questions in Jewish Law.
Tilles is co-founder and associate director of Ascent-of-Safed, and chief editor
of this website (and of KabbalaOnline.org). He has hundreds of published stories
to his credit, and many have been translated into other languages. He tells
them live at Ascent nearly every Saturday night.
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