Dreaming of Moshiach

Friday, October 13, 2006

Guests Stealing?!

Rabbi Mordechai of Chernobel son of R' Nachum a'h, sat at his holy table, surrounded by his chassidim. Suddenly the rebbe closed his eyes, bent his head and appeared to have fallen asleep. After several moments he reopened them and gazed with a dazed look, as if he had just arrived from a different world. He looked at his disciples and began:

"I was just in heaven [+/-] show/hide text
where my father was being judged. The charge against him involved a particular case of a barren woman who had come to him for a blessing. My father had told her that if Hashem saw fit not to given her children, he must abide by that sentence. This naturally did not satisfy the bitter woman who kept returning to my father, R' Nochum, for his blessing. When he refused her time after time, the woman decided to force his hand.

"She bided her time until she saw one day that the members of the rebbe's household had left for their various reasons. The rebbe was all alone in his study. The woman tapped on his window and demanded, 'Rebbe, you must bless me with children.' The rebbe looked up, annoyed by the commanding tone, doubly annoyed by the persistence of the bothersome woman.

"'And why must I promise you children,' he asked, when I have refused you many times for the same reason?'

"'Because this time if you refuse me I will enter your room and cause you to transgress the yichud prohibition of being alone with a woman in one room.' The rebbe looked about and saw that there was no one and nothing that could prevent her from from entering his chamber.

"'Stay where you are. I will do what you ask,' he reluctantly agreed. He than began to pray for the woman until he split the heavens with his pleas. The woman returned home and within a year was blessed with a child.

"This episode raised a furor in heaven. The celestial court could not condone the rebbe's deed of forcing it, through his prayers, to fruitify a barren woman and abolish its decree of barrenness. When my father died he was summoned to the heavenly court which wished to review his case. To do what he had done required substantial credit of mitzvot; they wished to see if he possessed enough. The heavenly judges searched his record and found one outstanding deed at the head of the list:

"Of all the mitzvot my father fulfilled during his life, the one dearest to him was hachnassat orchim (hosting people). My father so rejoiced with the opportunity of hosting people that he himself would serve his guests and tend to their needs. A man posing as a maggid once came to avail himself of the rebbe's hospitality. Reb Nachum tried his best to please his guest; waiting upon him himself, offering him choice dishes and a fresh, comfortable bed. But nothing seemed to please the man; he turned his nose up at the great food and asked for additional bedding. He caused my parents much inconvenience but they took it uncomplainingly. When shabbat came he even dared to ask to borrow my father's special silk caftan. My father was not insulted; he gave it willingly. As if this weren't enough, when shabbat was over he further requested that my father accompany him on his fundraising rounds.

"One night while the entire household slept save for my father who was busy with his midnight tikun chatzot, our guest crept stealthily from his bed. I, too, was awake and could see him fill a large sack with our silver and valuables. As soon as he slipped out of the house I hurried to my father's study to tell him what I had witnessed. 'Hurry, father,' I urged. 'Pursue him before he is out of sight. Make him return our valuables.' My father looked at me in surprise. 'What makes you suspect he stole? Our guest only took what was his.' I could not understand my father. 'What do you mean? He took all our family treasures.' But my father persisted, 'Whatever he took was his own for from the moment he set his eyes and heart on those things, I gave them to him as a gift so that he would not commit the sin of stealing. So you see that whatever is in his sack is really his. And now, my son, lie down and pretend you did not see a thing, so as not to embarrass the guest.'"

"It was this deed," concluded R' Mordechai, "that made such a forceful impression upon the entire heavenly host so that they all unanimously agreed that this tzaddik was indeed worthy of abolishing a heavenly decree. And so my father was acquitted." (Admorei Chernobel)

May the merit of the tzaddik Rabbi Menachem Nachum of Chernobyl protect us all, Amen.




והיה השם למלך על כל הארץ, ביום ההוא יהיה השם אחד - ושמו אחד ישתבח שמו לעד לנצח נצחים בכל העולמות Blessed is His name for eternity in all worlds אין עוד מלבדו