Weekly Chasidic Story #990 (s5777-08 / 21 Cheshvan 5777)

Rabbi Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev thought for a moment and then replied, "Yes, I think I know the right girl who will make a fine wife for your son.

Connection: Weekly Reading of Chaye Sara - the only Jewish shiduch (match) and betrothal discussed in the Written Torah.

A Valuable Book Sale

There was once a rich man who was a chasid of Rabbi Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev. When his son reached the proper age to marry, he came to the Rebbe to ask if he knew of a suitable girl. "I am more than willing to provide her with a trousseau and to support the young couple.
The only thing important to me is that she be from a chasidic family."

The Rebbe thought for a moment and then replied, "Yes, I think I know the right girl. One of my chasidim has a daughter who, I think, will make a fine wife for your son. I suggest you come back to Berditchev for the holidays, when the man will be visiting here for most of the month. The two of you can meet and discuss the matter then."

At the time, there lived in Berditchev a poor man who was a bookbinder by trade. His most valuable piece of merchandise was a very old book that was worth a large sum of money. Although he had been trying to sell it for some time, he was unable to find an interested buyer with enough money to purchase the volume. His friends suggested that he wait until the holidays, when one of the Rebbe's wealthiest chasidim would be coming to Berditchev. Perhaps he would be interested in acquiring the book.

However, when the time came to approach the rich man, the bookbinder was overcome with shyness. He decided to send his daughter with the book as his emissary. The girl dressed in her finest Shabbos clothes and went to the inn where the wealthy chasid was staying. Her father had instructed her to show him the valuable book and to ask if he was interested in buying it.

When the girl appeared at his door, the rich man assumed that she was the one the Rebbe intended for his son. Most certainly she had come so he could see her for himself, he thought. Her father must have sent her on this errand so she would not feel uncomfortable, not revealing to her the true reason for her visit.

The man began to question her about her family, and was delighted with her answers. He invited the girl for tea, and sent word for her father to join them. When he arrived, the rich man told the astonished bookbinder that he was delighted to have found the perfect girl for his son. The couple wed.

Sometime later, the wealthy Chasid came to the Rebbe to thank him for his wonderful suggestion. When Rabbi Levi Yitzchak heard the whole story, he remarked, "It appears that one cannot change anything that has already been decreed above."

Source: Adapted by Yerachmiel Tilles from the excellent rendition of Basha Majerczyk, in her translation of "Extraordinary Chassidic Tales" by Rabbi Rafael Nachman Kahn, volume 2.

Biographical note:
Rabbi Levi Yitzchak (Deberamdiger) of Berditchev of blessed memory: 5500 - 25 Tishrei 5571 (1740 - October 1810)] is one of the most popular rebbes in chasidic history. He was a close disciple of the Maggid of Mezritch. He is best known for his love for every Jew and his active efforts to intercede for them against (seemingly) adverse heavenly decrees. Many of his teachings are contained in the posthumously published, Kedushat Levi.

Connection: Weekly Reading of Chaye Sara - the only Jewish shiduch (match) and betrothal discussed in the written Torah.

Yerachmiel 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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