Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Bris Milah Herbs and Oxen

From the upcoming MeOros Kedushas Levi

The Ostrover related how was once together with the Chidushe HaRim (The first Rebbe of the Gerrer dynasty) at a bris. During the festive meal which follows the Chidushei HaRim asked a chassid from Yaraslov who was present to tell a story out loud.

This is the story that he told:

There once was a chassid of the Berditchiver whose trade and occupation was dealing in livestock especially oxen. One time while his herd of oxen was particularly large, the value of the livestock took a deep plunge and he stood to lose a considerable sum of money. He traveled to his Rebbe in Berditchev and explained the grave situation to him.

The Berditchiver answered him with a question, "Do you ever deal with mitzvos? Are there any mitzvos that often come your way?"

"Why yes," answered the livestock dealer, "I happen to be a mohel, and I perform circumcisions."

"Now tell me," queried the Berditchiver, "What do you do if after you perform the bris the child heaven forbid bleeds a lot?"

"Why, then I take the proper medical measures," and the chassid explained how he bandaged and and took care of such an unfortunate infant.

His holy rebbe then said, "Here I am given you a special medicinal herb, if heaven forbid any such child begins to bleed profusely after the bris milah, then grind this up and apply it to the wound and with Hashem's aid it will be healed and the bleeding will stop immediately."

The chassid thanked his rebbe and then again he asked him regarding his issue with the oxen.

"But I have already told you!" exclaimed the tzadik, "If heaven forbid the baby bleeds, apply this medicinal herb and G-d willing he will heal and the bleeding will stop immediately."

At this point in the story the Chiddushei HaRim interrupted the story teller saying "we can see clearly that this livestock dealer was a true chassid, since he did not ask again about the oxen and he understood that his rebbe's answer was relevant to his problem!"

The livestock dealer made his journey home and on the way he stopped at the local inn. Somehow the word reached him that the Jewish innkeeper had a son who was uncircumcised. "Why have you not circumcised your son?" asked the dealer. The innkeeper explained in sorrow that his brothers had died as a result of bleeding to death after the bris, heaven save us!

"Do you have any ideas?" asked the innkeeper. "I would give four hundred rubles to anyone who could safely circumcise my son, and spare him the fate of his poor brothers!" declared the innkeeper. "If so, I am a mohel and I will circumcise your son with my own guarantee," said the dealer. He took four hundred of his own rubles ande gave them as a form of security and as a guarantee that he would forfeit them if anything heaven forbid would happen to the baby. The last condition they made was that as a mohel the livestock dealer would have to care for and watch over his charge for four entire weeks after the bris to make sure he would be okay. After the bris milah, the baby began to bleed profusely. The mohel took out the medicinal herb, and bandaged the wound which stopped bleeding immediately.

Meanwhile the value of livestock began to climb steadily higher. When the dealer heard the news he wanted to leave immediately to return home and sell his oxen. However the innkeeper would not let him leave. He reminded him of his four week promise and held the anxious merchant at bay. After several more days passed the market value rose even higher! Again the dealer wished to leave and once more the innkeeper reminded him of his promise and condition and would not allow him to go under any circumstances. Four weeks passed, the mohel/dealer left with eight hundred rubles to his name, his own four hundred and the additional four hundred he had earned.

By this time the market value had inflated and risen very high and when he returned home he sold his entire flock for many times their original price and his profit was very great.

He then returned to Berditchev and thanked his Rebbe for all his help. "Rebbe these four hundred rubles which I earned for the bris are surely yours, and I am giving you a portion in the profits I made selling my oxen as well since it is all to your credit."

When the chassid concluded his tale, the Chidushei haRim turned to him and asked, "Why tell that part too?"  (Source: Siach Sarfei Kodesh #3 p118-119)


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