Weekly Chasidic Story #993 (s5777-11 / 11 Kislev 5777)

A Tsfat Ticket to Success

People who go to his grave, study his seminal work, Bat Ayin, learn from his ways, and/or arrange a celebratory meal to honor the yahrtzeit, can merit salvations and blessings

Connection: Seasonal--Yahrzeit of the Bat Ayin on 12th Kislev (2016: Dec. 12).

A Tsfat Ticket to Success

Like all the holy leaders of the Jewish nation, Rabbi Avraham Dov Auerbach, the Avritcher Rebbe, was devoted to helping out his people. It is told that even his demise was for the purpose of helping the Jewish people. When there was a plague in Tsfat in 1840, the Bas Ayin accepted death upon himself in order to end the plague. After his death, the plague ceased.

Just as he saved and helped people in his lifetime, certainly he continues to do so from heaven, and especially on his yahrzeit. In particular, the people who go to his grave, study his seminal work, Bat Ayin, learn from his ways, and/or arrange a celebratory meal to honor the yahrtzeit, can merit salvations and blessings, in the merit of this tzadik. The holy Tosher rebbe (Rabbi Meshulem Feish Lowy, who passed away in the summer of 2015 at age 95) in his book Avodat Avodah, writes, "I know a family in the Land of Yisrael which needed a salvation. The head of this family hosted a meal with ten people in honor of the Bas Ayin's yahrtzeit, and his difficulties were resolved."

Reb Shlomo Gross was a Slonimer Chosid who lived in Tsfat.* He supported his family by selling kerosene. He worked very hard, but his income was always limited and extremely tight. Once, on the yahrzeit of the Bas Ayin, he prayed at the Rebbe's grave. That night, he saw the Bas Ayin in his dream, who said to him, "I appreciate that you prayed at my grave (it is written that tzadikim enjoy it when people pray by their gravesite), but why didn't you make a meal in my honor?"

The next morning, he gathered ten people for a celebratory meal. Each person brought something to eat or drink (he didn't have enough money to sponsor the entire meal himself), and together they celebrated in honor of the Bas Ayin. After the meal he went out and bought a lottery ticket. He won the first prize!

A portion of what he received he donated to the Slonimer Yeshiva. He then requested that the yeshiva arrange an annual meal in honor for the Bas Ayin, for which he stipulated several details. For example, he insisted that they use white tablecloths. Until today, this tradition continues in the Slonimer Yeshivas in Israel, still using the money that Reb Shlomo Gross won on the day of the Bas Ayin's yahrzeit.

Source: Adapted by Yerachmiel Tilles from Torah Wellspings (Biderman).

* Editor's note: My best guess at this time, unsupported, is that this episode took place in the early 1900's.

Biographical note:
Rabbi Avraham Dov Auerbach of Avritch [1765-12 Kislev 1840], a Rebbe in Europe for forty years and in Tsfat for ten, was a disciple of Rabbi Levi Yitzchak of Berdichev and of the first two Rebbes of the Chernobyl dynasty. (One of his disciples was Rabbi Shmuel Heller, the chief rabbi of Zefat for over half a century.) His famous book, Bas Ayin, was written in Europe, but he refused to allow it to be printed until he could 'expose' it to the air of the Holy Land and refine it there. His meeting with the philanthropist Sir Moses Montifiore in 1840 led to the beginning of modern Jewish agricultural settlement in Israel. He is buried in the old cemetery of Tsfat.

Connection: Seasonal-Yahrzeit of the Bat Ayin on 12th Kislev (2016: Dec.12).


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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