Friday, January 22, 2016



"Kol baalei hashir yotzin be'shir ve'nimshachin be'shir umazin aleihem
vetovlin bim'koman –All the animals that are chained with collars may
go out on Shabbos with their collars, and be pulled by their chains
and they can be sprinkled to purify them and immerse in the mikve in
that way." (Mishna Shabbos 51b)

The Nahar Shalom of Parisov noted that the word for "collar" and
"chain" used by Chazal is also the Hebrew word for a song: shir. He
thus explained the words of our Mishna: Kol baalei hashir – this
refers to Moshe, Aharon and Miriam and that generation, known as Dor
De'ah – they are "the Masters of Song" – baalei hashir. Yotzin be'shir
– "they go out on Shabbos Shira," they leave their abode On High in
Gan Eden HaElyon and come down to us whenever the Shira is sung on
Shabbos. Venimshachin be'shir umazin aleihem – "And they are drawn out
with song," they draw down all manner of shefa (abundance) and
blessings, mazon – "sustenance" and livelihood into this world.
Vetovlin bim'koman, and when they return, "they stop to immerse
themselves" in the supernal rivers of fire formed from the sweat of
the chayos known as Nahar Dinor.

Parshas HaMon

Every Shabbos, for a period of twenty-two (!) years, Rav Menachem
Mendel of Rimanow was known to have spoken about Parshas HaMon. By
doing so, he drew down an abundance of shefa, berachos and parnassa
for all of Klal Yisrael. (Ateres Menachem)

One of the amazing things that Rav Mendel of Rymanov taught about the
mon was that since it was Lechem Abirim or "angel food," it was
thoroughly pure and had no waste [Chazal translated Lechem Abirim as
Lechem shenivla ba'eivarim – "food (or bread) that is fully absorbed
by the limbs of the body"]. As such, when it was consumed, it did not
go down the esophagus into the stomach to get digested and absorbed in
the intestines. Instead, it went down the windpipe straight from the
lungs into the heart, and from there, it was directly injected into
the bloodstream and carried off to all the limbs of the body!
(Menachem Tzion)

Preparing for the Mon on Erev Shabbos

Veheichinu eis asher yavi'u – "and they will prepare whatever they
take" (16:5).

Once, when Rav Tzvi Hirsch Meshares was still Rav Menachem Mendel's
gabbai, the Rebbe's house was entirely bare. Neither food nor money
was to be found. It was still the beginning of the week and every day
the Rebbetzin asked Rav Tzvi Hirsch to alert the Rebbe as to the dire
financial situation in their household. For his part, the loyal gabbai
went to tell the Rebbe. But each time he opened the door, he found the
Tzaddik in such lofty states of dveikus and rapture that he dared not
disturb his master.

Finally, as Shabbos was rapidly approaching, Rav Tzvi Hirsch could no
longer hold back the Rebbetzin's dire warnings and pleas. He entered
the Rebbe's room and told Rav Mendel that there was neither food for
Shabbos, nor money with which to buy any.

"Do not worry," explained the Tzaddik. "We shall fulfill the dictates
of the pasuk in Parshas HaMon – Veheichinu eis asher yavi'u – 'and
they will prepare whatever they take.'"

And so, Rav Hirsch drew water, filled up all the empty pots and put
them over the fire, as if to cook.

"Now," said Rav Mendel, "we have prepared and done our part…and
Shabbos shall do hers!"

Not long after, a guest appeared who wished to stay with the Rebbe for
Shabbos, and wouldn't you know…? He just 'happened' to be traveling
with all the needed provisions: challos, fish, meat and all that was
necessary to fill the empty pots and make Shabbos.

"You see," said the Tzaddik, "we prepared ours, and the mon came…
Shabbos did the rest! (Chasdei Avos)


The Modzitzer Rebbe, in Divrei Yisrael, has some amazing Divrei Torah
about the mon and its messages. He cites the holy words of the Zohar
HaKadosh (Beshalach 61b) that the mon is shoresh haparnassa ledoros
–"the root source of sustenance and livelihood for all generations."

He then applies to the mon the principle we know of as hashgacha
pratis, which teaches us regarding parnassa – ein adam noge'a be'ma
shemuchan lachaveiro – "No man can touch what has been designated for
his fellow."

The Modzitzer cites a question from his illustrious forebear, Rav
Chatzkel of Kuzhmir. The Kuzhmirer asked the following question: We
know that Chazal teach us (Yoma 75a) that the mon was unevenly
distributed. The Tzaddikim found it on their doorsteps, the beinonim
(average yidden) found it outside the camp, while the resha'im
(wicked) had to travel far and wide in search of their allotted
portion of mon. So, asked Rav Chatzkele Kuzhmirer, why didn't the
wicked just steal the mon right off the doorsteps of the Tzaddikim?
They must have seen it just sitting there – why didn't they take it?
Why did they go so far out of their way? He gives two answers: First,
that the wicked hate the Tzaddikim so much that they would rather go a
circuitous route than step foot on a Tzaddik's doorstep and risk
meeting him, learning from him and hearing mussar from him! Second,
perhaps they did try to steal the mon from the doorsteps of the
Tzaddik but they found they just could not! They even went further
afield, saw the mon at the edge of the outskirts of the camp
designated for the beinonim and found that somehow, for some reason,
they couldn't steal that either! This forced them to search far and
wide for their own portion of mon. Why were they unable to steal the
mon of the Tzaddik and of the beinoni? Because "Ein adam noge'a be'ma
shemuchan lachaveiro – No man can touch what has been designated for
his fellow."

Effectively speaking, this means that a ba'al emuna (a person of
faith) must believe that Hashem has set aside a specific parnassa for
him. Even if it seems to you that someone else's efforts are ruining
your business, diverting your clients, taking your accounts or
stealing your ideas, that someone else's business is somehow siphoning
off whatever should have been yours – these feelings are nothing but
an illusion. A ba'al emuna must strengthen himself with the chizuk
that "Ein adam noge'a be'ma shemuchan lachaveiro – No man can touch
what has been designated for his fellow."


"Horse and rider He hurled into the sea" (Shemos 15:1).


Yeehaw! Shadowfax was the swiftest racehorse this side o' Cana'an! He
was so surefooted that he flew across the track, as terrain passed by
like a blur of color on an impressionist's canvas! He could run three
laps around the track faster than you could say Jack Robinson.
Yessiree Bob, Shadowfax was the prize horse in the stable and he was
worth his weight in gold. There was never a race he had lost,
never…unlike Lazybones Larry.

Lazybones Larry was, well, lazy. He was a nice enough horse to look at
and all, but he was just sooooo slow. He lazily chomped his hay and
swished his tail, and trotted around the track, barely breaking into a
run. No amount of coaxing with carrots or sugar cubes helped.
Eventually he was sold for a song to a pony farm, so kids could pet
him or enjoy a slow trot.

What makes a fast horse worth so much and a slow horse worth so
little? The Tzemach Tzedek of Lubavitch pointed out that in fact there
seems to be greater value in a slow horse than a fast one. Imagine you
ride a swift horse too fast and get lost in the woods. If the horse is
quick as lightning, then this small wrong turn could spell disaster,
for if the horse is so fast he will quickly lose you deep, deep in the
woods with almost no hope of finding your way out again! A slow horse
might also get lost, but as he is so slow, how deeply can he penetrate
the forest? Surely he only went in a few paces, and finding the way
back should therefore be easy. Why, then, is a fast horse worth so

The difference, explains the Tzemach Tzedek, is that as soon as the
fast racehorse realizes his mistake and that he has lost his way – at
that fleeting moment he swiftly turns himself around and in seconds he
will be out of the woods, whereas a slow horse will only realize
anything is amiss long after he is deep in the forest, lost beyond
hope. Even then, he is so slow that who knows how long it will take to
get back on the right track again!

Our war against the yetzer hara is no different, explains the Tzemach
Tzedek. We need to be able to flee from its clutches and return to the
Torah faster than lightning!


Rav Elimelech Biderman shared the following anecdote about emuna and bitachon:

The Shinover Rav once remarked to his talmidim that the people in our
world are surely backward. The normal way of the world is that when
people are in need of a small sum of money for a particular purpose,
then they are at peace. They have great bitachon (trust) that somehow
they will get the money – after all, it's such a trifle, such a small
sum! But when a person needs a larger sum of money, then the opposite
happens. They get all nervous; they worry and fret – how will they
ever come up with such a large amount?!

The opposite attitude, however, is appropriate, explains the Shinover.
Whoever is in need of a great sum, a large amount of money that he
knows for sure he has no way in the world to amass – such a person
must place all of his emuna and bitachon in Hashem alone. Since he is
relying solely on Hashem, surely Hashem will take care of all his
needs! Conversely, someone who only needs a small sum of money and
believes that he has the power himself to gather together the needed
sum or borrow it from somewhere – he should surely worry! For if he is
not relying on Hashem then, me'ayin yavo ezri – from where will his
salvation come?!

Rav Elimelech Biderman shared the following stories about emuna and bitachon:


The Sefas Emes's daughter was married to the Rav of Bendin. It seems
that the Bendiner Rav had a habit of living somewhat beyond his
financial means, meaning that his household expenses were greater than
his income. In more simple terms, they were always broke. The Bendiner
once complained to her father, the Sefas Emes, that they never had any
money because her husband spent it all and lived beyond their means.

"Be grateful," the Sefas Emes answered his astonished daughter, "for
it seems that from On High it has been decreed that you should lack!
Rejoice that the form of lack comes from spending too much money on
food, clothes and your lifestyle, for since it has been decreed from
above that you should lack financially, it could have been spent
instead on bills for medical expenses instead!"


It was during the wanderings of the two holy brothers, the Rebbe Reb
Melech of Lizhensk and the Rebbe Reb Zisha of Hanipoli. In
self-imposed exile, they wandered among Jewish towns and villages,
bringing Yidden back to Hashem and His Torah, exhorting them to repent
and strengthening their faith and emuna.

Once they were falsely accused of some crime. This often happened to
poor beggars, who were blamed for all forms of mischief and
law-breaking. The two holy brothers appeared to be ragtag vagabonds
and the long arm of the law had them in its clutches. They were
summarily jailed, and behind lock and key their misery knew no bounds.
For in their incarceration they had finally met their match. Here the
evil one had cleverly jailed not only their physical bodies but also
their poor souls!

It was not the fact that they were jailed that bothered them, for
usually when something like this happened, the brothers occupied
themselves by studying Torah such as reciting Mishnayos by heart, or
saying Tehillim and davening. Nor was it the company of common
criminals, who had discerned that these two were no normal vagabonds
and had respectfully distanced themselves from the holy brothers. But
now the face of the Rebbe Reb Melech expressed his worry and anxiety.

"Why the long face, my holy brother?" asked Reb Zisha to Reb Melech.

"Zisha, my brother, it is almost time to daven Mincha, yet look," and
he pointed to the chamber pot in the middle of the rough, dingy cell.
"We cannot utter a single word of Torah or tefilla, or even think holy
thoughts in the presence of such refuse! Woe are we, my dear brother!"
sighed the Rebbe Reb Melech.

Just then, the Rebbe Reb Zisha's face lit up. "Brother, rejoice! For
the same halacha that Hashem gave us, commanding us to daven and
learn, has now forbidden us from doing so in this situation. Just
think – we can serve Hashem by not learning and not davening – what an
opportunity! When do we usually have a chance to serve Hashem so?"
And, grabbing the hands of the Rebbe Reb Melech, he began to dance –
and soon the two Tzaddikim were dancing and singing in the jail cell,
round and round the chamber pot!

The other inmates joined in, and soon the ruckus reached the ears of
the guards. The jail wardens came and started to yell, "What is the
meaning of all this noise and commotion? This is a jail, not a

The criminals cowered in fear. "It's them two crazies!" They pointed
shaking fingers at the singing and dancing Tzaddikim. "They are
dancing because of the chamber pot!"

"Oh, is that so?" the wicked warden sneered. "Guards – remove the pot
this instant!" And so it was that the Rebbe Reb Melech and the Rebbe
Reb Zisha davened and learned with nothing to disturb them further.

Yahrzeit 14 Shevat
Rav Yaakov Yehoshua Falk – the Pnei Yehoshua

The Vow that Saved His Life
Rav Yaakov Yehoshua Falk was the author of the Talmudic commentary
Pnei Yehoshua, and grandson of the famed Rav Yehoshua, author of the
Maginei Shlomo and responsa Pnei Yehoshua, for whom he was named. He
served as the head of the rabbinical court in Lwów after the Chacham
Tzvi and afterward in Berlin, Metz and Frankfurt.

During his tenure in Lwów a calamity occurred: several barrels of
gunpowder exploded, causing a terrible fire that killed some
thirty-six Jews, including his in-laws, his wife and daughter.

It was during this tragic episode, which the Pnei Yehoshua describes
in great detail in the introduction to his multi-volume Talmudic
commentary, that he was trapped under the rubble. Lying there beneath
the heavy beams of his destroyed home, paralyzed by shock, he waited
for the collapsing structure to subside. As he lay there immobile, he
vowed to Hashem that just as his illustrious maternal grandfather, the
author of Maginei Shlomo, for whom he was named, authored a commentary
on the Talmud, should Hashem help him survive this terrible calamity,
he too would not rest until he had studied, reviewed and authored a
similar Talmudic commentary.
Miraculously, no sooner had he made his vow than the rubble
mysteriously parted and he found a path through which he crawled out
unscathed. Seeing this open miracle and understanding that Hashem had
accepted his vow, he undertook to study and write novel
interpretations and commentary on the Talmud and its commentaries,
Rashi and the Tosafos. It is this famous work which has preserved his
fame till this day.

19 Shevat

Rav Shimon ben Yehuda Greenfeld of Semihali, author of Shu"t Maharshag
and Zehav Sheva

In his youth, the Maharshag had the custom to learn according to the
method of logical Talmudic hairsplitting known as pilpul and most of
his chiddushim were devised using this method. In his later years,
however, he traded pilpul for the depth of peshat, the simple meaning
with sevara yeshara, straightforward logic.
He was a disciple of the Gaon Maharam Shik and his great esteem for
his Rebbe can be demonstrated by the following episode:

Once, the Maharam Shik paskened (ruled) that the halacha was one way,
when some of his students pointed out that the Pri Megadim ruled on
this matter exactly the opposite way. The Maharshag answered them
thus, "Believe me that the words, opinions and rulings of my Rebbe,
the Maharam Shik, are just as great in my eyes as those of the Pri
Megadim. Nonetheless, you should know that no matter who rules one way
or another, even my very own Rebbe, if when I learn the sugya (topic)
of Shas myself and understand it one way, this is how I rule, based on
my own understanding."

Once the poskim in his generation had a halachic dispute about money
matters that had a chashash issur (possible prohibition) of ribis
(interest). The Maharshag himself ruled that there was no forbidden
interest in such transactions, whereas the Gaon Rav Aharon Yeshaya
Fish of Hadas, author of Perach Matteh Aharon, ruled on the matter
strictly, that it was forbidden due to the issur of ribis.
Because the Maharshag had ruled permitting such business, many Jews
invested in this deal and consequently profited very handsomely. After
a while, the Maharshag restudied and reexamined the matter and decided
to reverse his original ruling. He now concurred with Rav Aharon Fish
of Hadas that the transactions were forbidden because of ribis.

Now a singular thing occurred: anyone who continued to invest began to
lose substantial sums of money.

Concluded Rav Eliezer Dovid Friedman of London: This story alone
demonstrates the power of limud Torah lish'ma (the sincere study of
Torah purely for its own sake). So long as the Maharshag ruled that
the business investments were permitted, the Yidden who followed his
pesak (ruling) were able to earn and profit handsomely. But the power
of the Torah is such that when the ruling came out of his holy mouth
that these transactions were forbidden, anyone who disregarded the
ruling and invested, thereby transgressing, lost out, for thus is the
power of Torah. (This story is found at length in the sefer Noam Siach
by Rav Eliezer Fish of Salka, a grandson of the Rav Fish of Hadas, p.

FROM PREVIOUS YEARS: A Tzaddik, or righteous person makes everyone
else appear righteous before G-d by advocating for them and finding
their merits. - Kedushas Levi, Parshas Noach (Bereishis 7:1)



And the sea returned back to its strength. Our sages said that
Le'Aysabo can be read as LeTnao – to its original condition, for
during Genesis Hashem made a condition when He created the sea, that
it would split on behalf of Bnei Yisroel.
The Modzitzer Rebbe in Divrei Yisroel asks if Hashem already made a
condition with the sea to split, why then did it take the mesiruis
nefesh and immense act of self sacrifice of Nachshon ben Aminadav who
flung himself into the sea to get it to actually split? He tells us
that it seems like part of the precondition was that the sea should
split for Bnei Yisrole, but only once they had thrown themselves in,
deep up till their noses in the water! Why is this so?

He answers based on a teaching, a thread that runs throughout his
sefer again and again from his illustrious forebear the tzadik Rav
Chatzkele Kuzhnmirer (see below for Yorzeit and stories). Hashem
created angels and He created men. Angels have no tests nor trials.
When they sing shirah, there is no chiddush in their actions. When
they fulfill the will of the Ribbono Shel Olam there is nothing
special about that because that is their nature, that is what they
were created for and there is nothing holding them back nor preventing
them from carrying out their tafkid and role. Us, we human beings, on
the other hand have what are known as meniyos & ikkuvim – preventive
obstacles and various different barriers and obstructions which block
and bar us from fulfilling our tafkid, to do and fulfill the Torah and
mitzvos and do the will of the Master of the World. When we face or
meniyos and ikkuvim head on and despite them, over come, defeat them
and serve Hashem, this causes tremendous joy, pleasure and nachas
ruach or satisfaction on High.

For example, the challenge of earning a living we call parnash is
perhaps one of the most formidable greatest challenges and it is no
accident that Chazal compare it to no other than the splitting of the
sea when they say Kashe parnasah shel adam ke'keriyas yam suf. The
sea, explains the rebbe, is the pivotal example of an obstruction, a
barrier that prevented us from moving on and from fulfilling our
tafkid. When Klal Yisroel en masse left Egypt, their Exodus was barred
and impeded by the sea. Their mission was to reach Har Sinai and
"serve Hashem on the mountain." It was to accept the Torah and become
Am Yisroel. Only one thing stood in their way. . . the sea. They
needed to demonstrate self sacrifice and mesirus nefesh as a key to
unlock the promise and condition that the sea would then split for
them. Not only did Klal Yisroel demonstrate self sacrifice at the sea
for us, they passed that trait down to us as an inheritance. They
themselves acquired from Avraham who was assailed on his way to
perform his tafkid at the Akeidah by the Satan, who himself conjured
up an impasse of a river of water which Avrahama Avinu also had to
pass in neck deep until he emerged victorious. This self sacrifice to
perform Hashem's will has now been passed on to us. From Avraham to
the Shevatim in Egyptian bondage and now down to us their descendants,
any trial and trait that has unlocked a potential once before
continues to act as our key now in the future and we are the
inheritors of those keys to unlock the gates of meniyus and ikkuvim.
For just as the sea was THE obstacle preventing Klal Yisroel from
reaching Mt Sinai and getting the Torah, whenever any of us, in all
times and in all generations face an obstacle to our Torah, to our
mitzvos and avodas Hashem, a barrier and an impediment to fulfilling
our tafkid we must immerse ourselves neck and nose deep with mesirus
nefesh to battle against the tide! Then not only will the sea split
for us and the obstacles give way, they will become our aid as well.
Just as the sea turned tide against the Egyptian pursuers and bore
fruit and treasures for the Jews so do the very same eniyus and
ikkuvim contain within them the secret to our salvation, if we just
persevere and overcome. Serving Hashem despite and through the various
meniyus and ikkuvim is the job of man. We are not angels, we have a
yetzer hara, and ol parnassah, the burden and yoke of being human is
exactly why Hashem treasures our victories and gives us the aid and
strength needed to overcome and fulfill His will. That is the song of
the sea, the shiras hayam - the song of victory over all barriers and
obstacles in our lives while we fulfill our tafkid to Hashem.

The Night Reb Shmelke Slept in a Bed
The Rebbe Reb Shmelke of Nikolsberg rarely slept in his bed. He and
his disciples would study at their shtenders in the beis midrash until
they nodded off or fell asleep. It was part of the way they served
Hashem. A Talmid was once found asleep on his arm on the shtender, the
rebbe remarked, if you had the strength and presence of mind to put
your arm down so you could lay your head on it, you must not have been
truly tired!

Once, the Rebbe Reb Elimelech of Lizensk and his brother the Rebbe Reb
Zisha of Anipoli made a special trip to Nikolsberg to get Reb Shmelke
to sleep in his bed that night.
They themselves made the bed with special kavanos, holy thoughts and
meditations. That night Reb Shmelke indeed slept in his bed for
several hours. The next day he felt enlightened much more than usual.
As was his holy custom he stood and davened as the chazzan. When he
reached the recitation of the daily Shiras haYam in Pesukei DeZimra he
was so deeply engrossed in his prayers and he was in such a state of
enrapture and dveykus that to his exalted frame of mind he was
actually crossing the sea and he began to even lift up the coattails
of his bekeshe so as they should not get wet!!! After Davening he
turned to the two tzadikim and admitted that he never realized what a
good night's rest could for davening. However, he told them outright
that he would not be able to keep up this practice on a regular basis.

The Maggid of Dubno tells us the following parable:
Ki Ani Hashem Rofecha – For I am Hashem your healer. (Shemos 15:26)
There were three comrades who stood deep in conversation when one of
them noticed movement in the distance. He happened to have a pair of
binoculars and so he used them to see far into the distance and he saw
a crowd of people gathering. He told his friends what he saw and they
decided to investigate the matter. Come let us travel quickly in my
coach, they all quickly got in and made haste. In no time they reached
the crowd in the king's courtyard and saw that in their midst was a
ring of sad forlorn doctors who stood shaking their heads and wringing
their hands in despair, muttering, "so sad, so sad, too bad nothing
else can be done!" The crowd was nervous, agitated and despairing as
the three friends pushed and made their way to the center where the
king's only daughter, the princess lay, sick and dying. The royal
doctors had clearly given up all hope, but the third comrade asked the
king's permission to try his hand, for he was a professional healer.
Permission was quickly granted and he quickly mixed herbs and medicine
for her and they gave her to drink. Miraculously, color returned to
her pale face, her fever subsided, her eyes opened and she smiled.
Soon she was back to herself and her strength regained.
The king was beside himself with glee! Overjoyed, he turned to the
three comrades and exclaimed, I now give my daughter's hand in
marriage to he who saved her life! But now, a fierce competition and
disagreement broke out amongst the three former friends, each one
adamantly stood his ground that he was responsible for saving the
princess' life and that he should be the one to take her hand and wed
her in marriage. "If not for my binoculars, none of you would have
seen or known that anything was at all amiss!" declared the first
comrade. "What an insult," spat the second, "why without my coach we
would still be walking here on foot and never have made it in time to
save the princess life!" "Well, I never…" stamped the third in
agitation, "if I had not healed her with my own two hands and my
expert knowledge of medicine you two would have arrived only to
witness her sad demise!" he pronounced. The king saw that he was in a
quandary and he sent for the princess herself. "My dear beloved
daughter only you can choose the man you wish to marry, which of these
three suitors will you have?" "Each and every one of you honorable
sirs deserves praise and reward for each of you shared an important
and integral part in saving my life. Yet I choose the healer. And I
shall explain my choice, to you all," said the princess, "for although
you two also helped save my life," she said turning to the other two
would be suitors, "nonetheless if Heaven forbid I would ever be sick
again, neither of you could help me, however the healer, if he will
wed me and be with me he can always use his expertise to heal me if I
am sick once more."
One of the lessons we can learn from this mashal is that we can seek
the help and aid of many, peoples and nations and acknowledge them,
their true genuine contributions, and thank them. However went it
comes to choosing a partner, Klal Yisroel has Hashem for He is our
healer and whatever we lack, whatever we need, whenever we need Him,
He is there right by our side.

Rav Elimelech Biderman told the following story:
The chabad chassid Rav Menachem Mendel Futerfas, was once present
during a farbrengen during which he told the following tale:
There was a chabbad chossid who was exiled to Siberia for the crime of
teaching Torah to young cheder boys. For this serious offense, he was
exile to the outermost reaches and highest mountains in Siberia, a
cold dark place where the sun is completely absent during winter for
several months! He was given a small shack as his living quarters, and
there he spent his days with no seforim, no tefillin, no vestige of
Yiddishkeit at all! His heart was torn and he was so broken that he
felt total despair. Soon Shabbos was approaching and he could not
console himself and his broken soul. Then as he reckoned that time of
day, for his watch was his only companion with no sunrise nor sunset
to tell him the time of day, he realized that it was Shabbos
afternoon, he left his shack and was stunned as he froze in his
tracks. He could hear the faint sound of singing, sweet outpouring of
the soul! The place was so cold and frozen that the mountaintops were
bare and bereft of trees or plantlife so that the voice and its echoes
carried far and wide. He followed the sound of the singing voice till
it led him to another small shack. Inside he found a long haired Jew
singing in dveykus and communion, singing Yedid Nefesh to Hashem with
such passion and plaintive longing that he did not notice the
entrance of our chassid. The chassid sat down beside him and joined
him and together in that frozen wasteland they sang, Yedid Nefesh Av
HaRachman . . .Nafshi Cholas Ahavasecha, my soul is love sick for You
Hashem! After an hour or two they finished, and when he concluded, the
long haired exile opened his eyes and noticed sitting across from him
a Jew, complete with beard and payos! He was overjoyed and exclaimed
"I have been here twenty years in exile and since then I have not set
my eyes on a Jew! I have no Tefillin to wear, no Tallis to wrap, no
Sukkah to sit in, no Shofar to hear and now Hashem has sent me a real
flesh and blood Jew!" He was so overjoyed! "Please tell me where you
able to smuggle some article of kedusha?" "Only the Tefillin Shel yad
was I able to conceal and smuggle in," replied the chassid, "the
wicked guards confiscated my tefillin shel rosh when I arrived ," he
explained sadly. "Tomorrow after Shabbos I will gladly let you use the
tefillin shel yad." Said the chassid. The entire evening and all
night, our long haired exile sat in anticipation and longing, "just
think tomorrow I shall do a mitzvah that I have not done for some
twenty years!" The very next morning he excitedly made a beracha and
laid the tefillin shel yad and recited Keriyas Shema and as he ended
the word Echad declaring and proclaiming Hashem unity, his soul
Rav Mendel concluded his story, "Just think, ask yourselves each and
every one of you," and he turned to those present at the fargrengen, "
how would you look if you had been sitting in exile and unable to
fulfill any of the mitzvos at all?! Would you too, sit in a state of
dveykus singing Yedid Nefesh pouring out your soul with passion and
longing for Hashem?! And now here we are privileged to sit here
together at a farbrengen should we not lift our voices together in
praise and in song to the Master of the World, the Beloved of our
Soul, Yedid Nefesh Av HaRachman?!"

Parshas HaMan and Feeding the Birds
The Perisha in Orach Chaim cites the Yerushalmi that it is a good
practice to recite parshas HaMan daily. The reason for this segulah
for Parnasah is Emunah. The Yismach Yisroel of Alexander explains, a
person may fool himself into thinking that when he works hard and
earns a living that it is "kochi veotzem yadi asa li es kol hachayil
hazeh," my hard work and my toil is what built this up and it is my
own two hands that created this livelihood and success. This is the
illusion. For when a person lacks emunah and is proud and arrogant
enough to think he himself if the source of his own financial success
then he is clogging up his own spiritual plumbing. The pipelines of
blessings and abundance of shefa get clogged from such thoughts.
However daily repetition of parshas haman ingrains within us the truth
that it is all really from Hashem and He is the true source of
blessings and parnassah.
This is also one of the reasons for the minhag to feed the birds on
Shabbos Shira. The Yismach Yisroel notes the objections of the Magen
Avrohom who rules against this practice saying that (OC 324) since the
birds do not rely on us for their food we should not feed them.
However says the Alexander Rebbe, that itself is the very lesson of
the Manna. We are like the birds, we do not rely on human hands to
feed us, as domesticated animals and beasts of burden do. If we rely
on the feeding of human hands then we too are like those domesticated
animals and beasts of burden for we would be no better! Rather we feed
the birds because it reminds us that we too are like them we rely on
Hashem alone to feed us and nourish us!


The angel of G-d who had been going in front of the camp of Yisrael
moved and went behind them...
(Shemos 14:19)

The holy Berditchever teaches us in Kedushas Levu that it is known
that the angels are on a higher level than Bnei Yisrael due to their
greater holiness.

However, when Hashem demonstrates His love for His nation Bnei
Yisrael, then they are even higher than the supernal angels. In fact,
during the splitting of the sea, HaKadosh Baruch Hu demonstrated His
great love for Bnei Yisrael, and they were on a higher level than any
other creation.

This is the meaning of "The angel of G-d who had been going in front
of the camp of Yisrael moved and went behind them" — the angels who
had walked in front of Bnei Yisrael's camp were previously on a higher
level than Bnei Yisrael. But during the splitting of the sea, they
stood behind them — "behind" the level of Bnei Yisrael. Bnei Yisrael
rose to a level higher than that of the angels because Hashem
demonstrated His love for them there.

Higher than an Angel?

The Tzanz-Klausenberger related related the following story, as he
heard it from Rav Tevli of Dukla. "I was told this story by Rav Tevli
of Dukla, who heard it from his father-in-law, Rav Yosef Moshe, who
heard from Rav Yitzchak Ettinger, who heard from the mouth of the
author of Yeshuos Yaakov himself. It happened when the Yeshuos Yaakov
was but a young avreich living in Yaroslav (a city of misnagdim,
opponents of Chassidus)." This is the story he told:

One year on erev Yom Kippur, the rav of Berditchev arrived in town.
When he entered the shul for Kol Nidrei, he came in crawling on his
hands and feet — such was his awe and self-negation before Hashem! He
approached the amud and began to recite Kol Nidrei with great
reverence and fervor. None of us assembled knew the guest's identity,
but nonetheless he was allowed to continue leading the prayers before
the congregation. He had the sweetest voice we had ever heardm, and we
could tell by the tone and feeling with which he said those stirring
prayers that this was a person of great stature.

After concluding ma'ariv, he went on to recite the liturgy known as
Shir HaYichud before the ark and then he began reciting the entire
sefer Tehillim out loud. He stayed there, standing on his feet and
saying Tehillim, the entire night!

In the morning, when the men started arriving in shul, we found him
standing there in the same position that we had left him. Without
budging from his place, he simply went on to recite Adon Olam and led
the prayers for shacharis. Then he proceeded to read from the Torah
and lead the services for mussaf."

"I began to doubt whether this being was human or an angel from
heaven!" the Yeshuos Yaakov explained. "His powerful, sweet voice and
his unceasing outpouring of emotion were nothing short of angelic. But
when the congregation recited their responses and he stood silent I
concluded that he must be human. Then he came to the ne'ilah prayers.
He raised his voice and roared out the words like a lion, and not one
person in the entire congregation was left unmoved. Anyone who had not
yet done teshuvah was filled with remorse and everyone there repented.
We were sure that only a supernal angel from Heaven could have such

After Yom Kippur had ended and we had davened ma'ariv (the Yeshuos
Yaakov went on to relate), I decided to follow him and see were he was
staying. I wanted to see if he would conclude his fast and eat as
human beings do. Perhaps he truly was an angel who had no need to eat
or sleep!

I watched as he listened to Havdalah that someone recited and then ask
those present, "Please bring me something to revitalize me and fill my
hungry soul!"

Immediately they brought him some cake, cookies, and fruit to eat,
knowing that anyone would be hungry after such a day. "No, no," he
protested, declining the food offering, "this is not what I had in
mind. Please bring a masseches Sukkah."

They brought him the requested volume, and he took the Gemara to his
room saying that he needed to rest a bit. I followed him and peeked
into his room. What I saw had no resemblance to rest. I saw him
sitting enraptured in studying the masechta aflame with devotion. I
myself could not stay up. I was tired and I fell fast asleep. When I
awoke, it was morning. I peeked into the Berditchever's room and found
him still sitting there and learning. While I slept, he had managed to
learn almost the entire tractate!

"This," interjected the Tzanz-Klausenberger, "was the Kedushas Levi,
about whom his son Rav Meir writes in his introduction to volume 1 of
his sefer Kesser Torah, 'Everyone in the world knows that my father
had thousands of students whose hearts my father set aflame teaching
them Gemara, Rashi and Tosafos, as well as the works of the poskim and
codes of law. Their hearts were excited to serve Hashem when they
heard his Torah guiding them on the straight path to serve Hashem.'

"Though he was served Hashem at every moment with such fervor that
would make even angels and fiery seraphs jealous," concluded the
Tzanz-Klausenbeger, "he could not rest knowing that he did not study
enough Torah on the day of Yom Kippur. Only after the entire tractate
of Sukkah was his mind appeased. What then can we say about

Tuesday, January 19, 2016



"But they (the midwives) did not do as the king of Egypt [Pharaoh] said and they gave life to the boys" (Shemos 1:17).

The Munkaszcer Rav told a story about the Rebbe Reb Melech of Lizhensk and his talmidim:
It was a difficult time for Klal Yisrael: the government was seeking to pass a new harsh decree, that no Jewish male would be allowed to marry unless he had performed his duties and served in the armed forces. Only after the required army conscription would he be discharged and allowed to marry. Such a decree would spell disaster for the Yiddishkeit of young Jewish boys – the rough elements and the culture and manners of the goyim would ruin them.

The Rebbe Reb Melech davened to no avail; his tefillos simply could not cancel the decree. He was greatly perturbed as he lay down to rest, knowing that at midnight the decree would pass into law and go into effect. Fortunately, he had shared this information and his distress with his talmidim.

Rav Menachem Mendel of Rymanow and the Chozeh of Lublin did not remain idle. They had been collecting tzedaka, and now they gathered a minyan together to secretly celebrate the wedding of two penniless orphans. They conducted the ceremony so that the chuppa would occur exactly at midnight and their simchas mitzvas chassan and kalla should correspond exactly to the moment of the harsh decree of conscription.

When the Rebbe awoke at midnight, as was his custom, to his great surprise and joy he had nothing left to do! There were no battles to wage, for the decree had vanished and been canceled at the last minute – due to some technicality the decree had not passed into law! He sent word to his talmidim to celebrate, yet they could not be found at their lodging or the Beis Medrash. Finally they were discovered celebrating in secret. Their celebration of a mitzva so dear just at the right time had canceled the decree, said the Rebbe Elimelech.

So it was with the midwives, explained the Munkasczer. The pasuk says that the midwives did not heed the command of Pharaoh to kill the newborn boys. The holy Ohr HaChaim's commentary to our pasuk is: The verse teaches us that these holy righteous women canceled Pharaoh's decree, for they acted as soon as he had decreed it. This is why the pasuk says they did not do so. When did they contradict his orders? When he spoke – as soon as he commanded they disobeyed him. As soon as they left his presence after being told to murder the babies, they went straight off to give them life! They canceled the decree by acting as soon as Pharaoh spoke; the words of our pasuk they did not do as he had said mean that as soon as he had finished speaking, immediately they ran to disobey!

You see, explained the Munkasczer, the Ohr HaChaim's explanation of our pasuk matches the story exactly: because they battled the decree at the time it was to have taken effect, they neutralized it and canceled it! (Divrei Torah I 33)

The fly buzzed round and round Yiddel's head. "Shoo, go away! Pesky fly, beat it!"
The fly either didn't understand English or didn't hear him, as it continued its relentless buzzing, flying round and round, here and there, settling on his drooping eyelids, on his nose or some other limb.

Each time, the figure bent with concentration was interrupted and annoyed anew. "Get away, shoo!" he yelled in growing spams of anger and frustration as he was interrupted again and again by the irksome buzzing and ticklish crawling of the fly who simply would not let up.

"Gerrofame! Ah! I'll never get this done now – I can't concentrate! I have no yishuv hada'as (peace of mind)!"

If that were not bad enough, a week later Yiddel was at the nurse's station, getting a dose of antibiotics and his wound re-dressed. It seems Yiddel had a small cut and the fly, filthy from landing and crawling on some of the dirtiest, most loathsome of places, had infected his little cut so that it had festered, needing advanced medical attention. Silently Yiddel cursed the fly!

Who is this fly? Rav Elimelech Biderman reveals that Chazal (Berachos 61a) called the yetzer hara a fly. Why did Chazal compare the evil yetzer to a fly? Rav Biderman cites the holy Rav Moshe Kobriner (Imros Moshe) to explain the mashal:

"A single moment of yishuv hada'as is worth all the world's treasures. If a Jew has true yishuv hada'as and can concentrate and understand his purpose and direct his energies – nothing is more valuable than this!"

Explains Rav Biderman, that the evil yetzer tries all it can to confuse us, confound our minds and disturb our spirits. All its energies are bent on distracting us from what is truly important – and this is the beginning of a person's downfall. Perhaps this is why it is compared to a fly. What can a fly do already? It's so small and puny that it cannot hurt us. But a fly is sooo annoying and sooo bothersome, buzzing round and round our heads – it's enough to drive anyone crazy. This buzzing merry-go-round itself annoys us and ruins our yishuv hada'as. And this is exactly what the yetzer wants us to lose so that, Heaven forbid, we should fall down the slippery slope to forget our emuna and fall into its clutches.

Another thing flies do is carry sickness and disease. A fly can infect even a small open wound, and make it so much worse! It can transform a small cut into an infected soar whose poison runs deep into the blood and sickens the entire body! Similarly, the evil yetzer sees a small opening, some small lack of doubt, some small sin or transgression and he sullies it and infects it, until, Heaven forbid, he has made the entire soul sick!

Rav Melech Biderman cites Rav Menachem Mendel of Vorka and Rav Henich of Alexander who explain the pasuk in our parsha along similar lines. "And Pharaoh commanded the slave drivers and taskmasters . . .do not give any more straw to the people which they use to make bricks as you did in the past. Let them go themselves to gather straw. Do not lower the quota of bricks to be made – let them fulfill the same quota as before" (Shemos 5:6-8).

The Tzaddikim ask what Pharaoh's intentions were. If he simply sought to break them by giving them an impossible task, why not simply raise the quota of bricks per day? If he doubled or tripled the daily quota surely they would not be able to make it, even if they were given straw. Why the need to make them go out and gather straw themselves? The Tzaddikim explain that Pharaoh wanted to break Bnei Yisrael's spirit by making them lose all hope and all sense of calm. In order to fill them with confusion and anxiety he forced them to go out and search for straw. This task would hound them and make them lose any sense of inner peace and calm. It would cause them to lose both yishuv hada'as and their bitachon in Hashem, Heaven forbid. If, however, their quota had simply been raised and they had still been supplied with straw, they would garner strength and reinforce their emuna and bitachon. This in turn could cause them to work so hard and become so determined that they might actually make the quota!
Pharaoh knew that the secret to breaking a person is to confound, confuse and ruin his yishuv hada'as. May Hashem always grant us the needed yishuv ha'daas to serve Him and overcome all obstacles with peace, tranquility and steadfast emuna and bitachon, Amen.


SHEMOS (1:11-12) "So they appointed over them tax collectors to afflict them with their suffering . . . But as much as they would afflict them, so did they multiply and so did they gain strength.

Rav Dr. Dovid Gottleib, well-known Jewish Philosopher, Gateways Lecturer and Rebbe at Ohr Same'ach, Yerushalayim, told the following tales of how to deal with suffering:

The Apta Rav, the Ohev Yisrael, was once sitting with his talmidim, when there was a knock on the door. When they opened it up and the Rebbe saw who was standing there he began to laugh. The Tzaddik laughed and laughed – a cynical laugh – and then the man left and he closed the door. The Chassidim did not dare ask the meaning of this strange occurence and the shiur continued as if nothing out of the ordinary had occurred.

The next day, the shiur was again interrupted by knocking. This time the members of the chevra kadisha (burial society) were at the door.

They explained that yesterday a stranger had arrived in town and lodged at the local inn. He remained anonymous – no one knew him or his identity, and unfortunately they had discovered him this morning in his room, lifeless. The chevra kadisha wanted to know from the Rav where they should bury him. Should they consider it a suicide in which case the dead were buried outside the gate in a place reserved for sinners, or should they bury him in a regular plot?

"You can bury him in a normal plot," the Apta Rav ruled, and they left. The talmidim realized that this must be yesterday's anonymous visitor, and the Rebbe explained, "When a sinner used to come to the Beis HaMikdash in Yerushalayim of old and offer a korban chatas, his sin offering was brought before the Kohen, and the Levi'im (Levites) would sing a slow, sad, mournful tune to remind him of his past misdeeds and to induce him to have remorse and to do teshuva.

"After the korban was brought, they struck up a lively, happy, joyful tune of simcha and acceptance. All of them did so. All but one. One Levi was spiteful and would mock the sinners by continuing a sad, melancholy tune.
"The Levi'im got together and devised a plan. One day this Levi himself would accidentally sin and then he would get his just desserts!

"Sure enough, the hand of Heaven prevailed. The Levi sinned inadvertently and was liable to bring a sin offering. As he brought the Korban Chatas the Levi'im all played sad, slow, mournful tunes and did so all through the whole time, even after his offering was complete – and then they all laughed at him! 'Ha ha ha!' they all laughed. All but one. All but me.

"You see, I was the Kohen Gadol," explained the Apta Rav. (It was well known that in a previous gilgul the Apta Rav had been the Kohen Gadol; in fact, when he davened as the chazan during the Yamim Nora'im, as he stood leading the congregation in tefilla on Yom Kippur, he would recite the tefillos known as the Avoda of the Kohen Gadol – but when he reached the stanza which recalls the sprinkling of the blood, where it says "And so did the Kohen recite – vekach haya omer," instead he recited, "And so I used to say – vekach hayisi omer"!) "I could not bring myself to laugh at the misfortune of another Jew, even if he was a sinner. Now this laughter was his atonement. All the Levi'im had laughed – everyone but me. So when I saw our guest yesterday, I recognized him at once! Here was our Levi! But I asked myself, why was he here again? Why did he come back again before me in this life? I reasoned that he came once more before me so that I too should laugh at him and complete his atonement. And so I laughed. He must have achieved his kappara, and that is why he passed away. This is why I told the chevra kadisha to give him a proper burial."

Rav Gottleib told another story:

The Gerrer Rebbe suffered a terrible loss when his twenty-seven-year-old son was niftar. Many great Rabbonim and Tzaddikim came to comfort him during the shiva (period of mourning). The Gerrer Rebbe told them, "You are coming to comfort me for the terrible loss of my young son who was taken from me after just twenty-seven years. But I am celebrating the twenty-seven years that HaKadosh Baruch Hu gave me with him.

Concluded Rabbi Gottleib: We take the years we have for granted. We deserve it. We have a right to it! Why did Hashem cut it short? What a different way to look at it! Often, we have the opposite perspective: Why do I suffer? Does Hashem, Heaven forbid, hate me? Why did Hashem do this to me? As if He owes it to us.

Instead this Tzaddik, the Gerrer Rebbe, saw what he got as a gift – that each day given to us is a free gift that no one owes to us. I haven't got a right or a claim. I got twenty-seven years – we have to be grateful for that!
Think of the great Arizal or the Ramchal – they didn't make it to age forty! What they achieved in such a short life span we could not achieve even in a thousand years.
So do we say that their lives were cut short? Obviously not. When we accept that Hashem does not owe us anything, then every day and every breath is a gift.

Rav Avigdor Miller was once discovered by a grandchild with his head submerged in his full kitchen sink. The grandchild was scared, until Rav Miller pulled out his head gasping for air.
"Zeide, what's wrong? What happened?" asked the fearful child. Rav Miller answered the child, "Chazal teach us that we have to be thankful to Hashem and praise Him for each and every breath we take. But we breathe all the time, automatically, so we cannot appreciate this. So from time to time I deny myself the ability to breathe like I did just now. Then, when I need to breathe and do so again, I can truly really appreciate it!"
Concluded Rav Gottleib, "That is great mussar; this is what is meant by being appreciative of every moment – and this is what the Gerrer Rebbe meant when he explained the loss of his child – be grateful for what time you did have, because Hashem did not owe it to you!"

Rav Fischel Shachter told:

A wealthy Chassid came in to the Chozeh for a beracha. The Chozeh told him to go and become a melamed. What? Drop his vast business dealings and become a simple teacher for children?
But this Chassid had emuna and bitachon and so he did what the Rebbe said. He did not exactly know where to start his new job just yet, so in the interim he sat himself down in the Beis Medrash to learn.

Meanwhile, a simple farmer came in to the Chozeh crying about his children. "My sons are growing up unlettered and unlearned – they will be amaratzim – ignoramuses!"
"Don't worry," said the Rebbe. "I have just the melamed for you."
The farmer entered the Beis Medrash, approached the wealthy businessman-Chassid and said to him, "The Rebbe sent me to you; he says you should be the melamed to teach my sons Torah."
The wealthy Chassid sent word to his astonished wife to cancel all his appointments and business meetings with famous dignitaries, because the Rebbe, the Chozeh, had commanded him to be a melamed instead.
He sat down and tried to start learning with the farmer's sons – but they did not seem to succeed in anything he tried to teach them. He went back to the Chozeh and said, "This isn't working!"
"Are you davening for them?" asked the Rebbe. "Go back and daven for them to be matzliach (successful)!"

The Chassid returned, davened for them and tried again to teach them…
One day, he asked one of the sons to try to learn to say the kiddush but it just wouldn't go. He watched the boys; they were intelligent enough, they seemed to know their way around the farm well enough. Somehow when it came Lashon HaKodesh and Torah, they were stumped.
He then hit upon an idea. "Do you know the names of all the cows?" he asked the farmer's son one day.
"Yes, I do," answered the young lad. He led the melamed out and proudly named all the cows for him. "See – this one is Betsy and this one is Suri," and so on.
"Well," said the melamed, "We are now going to rename the cows. From now on this cow is called Vayechulu, and this one is Hashomayim, that one is called Veha'aretz…" He renamed all the cows using the words recited for Kiddush! That Friday night, he proudly told the stunned farmer, "Your son is going to say Kiddush!"
And so he whispered into the boy's ear, "Name the cows!"

"Vayechulu Hashomayim Veha'aretz…" The boy recited Kiddush and his parents were so proud!

One day a letter came from his wife telling him the news: "The French army invaded, they repossessed all the businesses of the wealthy, rounded them all up and had them shot! Baruch Hashem you are safe – otherwise they would have gotten you too!" That is when he realized that sometimes it is good to be a melamed!

After hearing this he realized that his Rebbe had saved his life. He traveled to the Chozeh and said, "Can I go home now?"

The Chozeh asked him, "When you were there as a melamed, what d'var Torah did you hear?"

"I remember that two people had an argument and one said to the other, "Why fight? It says in the pasuk: Vayar menucha ki tov – peace and quiet are so good that Vayet shichmo lisbol – better we should carry this burden on our shoulders and settle our differences, rather than fight and argue – because peace is so much better!

"That," said the Rebbe, "is what you needed to hear. Now you can go back home."
Sometimes what seems like misfortune turns out to be our good fortune! We never know what lessons we need to hear and where.


The Chafetz Chaim wrote:
I am surprised at some people, who search high and low for different segulos and waste their money and spend their energy all for nothing, when in fact we have a wonderful segula right at hand, available to each of us every day. Chazal promised us explicitly that whoever answers Amen and Amen Yehei Shemeih Rabba aloud and with kavana acquires for himself a protective wall, surrounding him with guarding ministering angels.
(Ahavas Chessed II Chapter 5)




"And I appeared to Avraham, to Yitzchok and to Yaakov." (Shemos 6:3)

And I appeared to the Avos (Rashi).

Many commentators are surprised by this seemingly unnecessary comment of Rashi. What did Rashi add in his comment and what did he mean by it?

The Rebbe Reb Melech asks this very question in Noam Elimelech, explaining Rashi's comment as follows:

Rashi is emphasizing that Hashem appeared to all three of the Avos equally as E"l Sha"dai. This is surprising, since we know that each of the Avos served Hashem in his own individual way, each according to his personal attribute: Avraham with chessed (loving-kindness), Yitzchak with Gevura (severity and strength) and Yaakov with Tiferes (beauty and splendor). Since each of them served Hashem differently we would have expected Hashem's revelation to each to be different. Rashi therefore comments, "I appeared to the Avos" – I appeared to all the Avos equally as E"l Sha"dai, because, although each had a different revelation and served Hashem in his individual way, this was due to their own, human differences, as opposed to Hashem Himself, Who is a unified being and does not change at all.

REVELATION FOR THOSE WHO SEEK HIMThe Modzitzer Rebbe, in Divrei Yisrael, cites his holy grandfather, Rav Chatzkeleh Kuzhmirer, in answering this same question on Rashi's commentary. The Kuzhmirer said that the word Avos can also mean "will" or ratzon as in the pasuk (Devarim 2:30): Velo ava Sichon – "And Sichon was not willing." Rashi's comment "And I appeared to the Avos" can thus be reinterpreted not to mean Avraham, Yitzchok and Yaakov per se, but rather, whoever desires to seek Hashem and is willing to serve Him – even now in our times – Hashem appears to him. The Modzitzer adds that this fulfills the statement in Tanna D'vei Eliyahu (Chapter 25): "Everyone is obligated to say, 'When will my actions reach those of my forefathers – the Avos?"


Rav Meir of Premishlan also questions the meaning of Rashi's comment. He answers that the lesson Rashi wishes to convey is that Hashem appeared to each of the Avos in their own merits and not due to the greatness of their forefathers.

The Divrei Chaim of Sanz was once visited by the grandson of a Rebbe. When the Sanzer Rav asked him, "And who are you?" he replied, expounding on his yichus (lineage) that he was the grandson of the famed Tzaddik and Rebbe so and so.

"I asked you who you are!" thundered the Sanzer Rav, "and you answer me who your grandfather was?!"



The king sighed a heavy sigh. What was to be done with his son, the prince? The young man simply had no regard for money and he spent it like water. He wasted money on lavish balls and affairs, fancy clothes, vain pursuits, gambling and any sport he wished. He spent frivolously, running up debts until the king could no longer ignore his reckless, carefree lifestyle any longer. "I have no other choice," the sad king said to himself as he shook his head, and resolved to punish the prince in order to teach him the value of money and some responsibility.

The prince hung his head in shame. "You are hereby banished from the palace. You may not take anything with you but the clothes on your back; maybe then you will learn to value money and hard work!"

The prince made his way to the town, yet none of his former "friends" wanted anything to do with him now that he was penniless. Eventually, he took to begging along with the rest of the paupers and made his home among the hovels of the poor and destitute.

It was to this slum that the king's magistrate made his way many years later in search of the prince. His Majesty had decided that enough was enough; by now surely his son had learned his lesson, and he sent his loyal magistrate to see if he could organize a reconciliation. The official searched for the prince high and low until he was finally told to look among the hovels of the poor. It was there that he discovered the prince.

"My dear prince – your father, the king, has sent me to find you," he said with distaste, as he pinched his nose with fine silk gloves to fend off the malodors of the stinking hovel where the former prince had made his home. The poor young man was almost unrecognizably dressed in rags and tatters, but a gleam of hope shone in his previously dull eyes.

"My…my father? His Majesty the king?" His voice shook with emotion as he struggled to remember his father and his former station in a previous life.

"Yes," the magistrate declared. "His Majesty sent me to locate you, and so I have done. Now I have been sent to ask you if there is anything – anything at all – that you wish and need?"

"What? What did you say? Anything?" asked the startled pauper prince.

"Yes," smiled the magistrate. "Anything at all." Surely, he thought, the prince would ask for permission to come out of exile – and then he would bring him new clothes, a washup and a coach to deliver him back home. He was shocked and dismayed, therefore, by the pauper prince's answer.

"Wow! What a great father! Anything at all, you say? Please, please bring me a new beggar's purse." So saying, he took out a tattered and frayed pouch. "You see, mine has seen better days! If you could do that for me, it would be the kindest thing, so I can collect alms more easily."

The Gerrer Rebbe, Rav Avraham Mordechai Alter, used the above mashal as a parable to explain the pasuk (Shemos 6:6) "And I took you out from the suffering of Egypt and saved you from their slave labor." We are no different from the pauper prince, explained the Gerrer Rebbe. We too have been in exile for so long that we seem to forget our true origins and former station. So when we daven and ask Hashem for help, what do we ask for? Do we truly yearn and ask for redemption, reconciliation and a return to our former stature? Or are we satisfied with a mere beggar's purse? G-d willing, the ge'ula will be here soon, then we shall all see that there are much higher and loftier things to yearn for than a new beggar's purse.



Rav Elimelech Biderman shared the following two parables about guarding against the yetzer:

The local town coachman had reached a respectable old age. His strength simply was not the same. "Look at inzere alter ba'al agula – our old coachman has passed his prime and his kochos are not what they used to be!" said the townsfolk. They gathered together and decided that they had no choice but to replace their dearly beloved ba'al agula with a new, younger, coachman.

The older coachman heard the decision and was greatly distressed and aggrieved. He decided to take matters in hand and he approached the young new coachman himself with a smile.

"Shulem Aleichem – welcome!" he greeted the young man. "Let me tell you I know that I have grown older and my strength isn't as it used to be, so I concede that new "energy" and new blood should be brought in. However…" he paused for emphasis. "However, as a veteran coachman I would like to give you a simple test and ask you a few questions to see if indeed you are capable of taking over my position. May I?"

The young coachman agreed and the test proceeded with the older ba'al agula asking, "What would you do, my good man, if the coach and wagon you were driving sank deep into the mud?"

"Well," smiled the young man confidently (this was not going to be so bad after all! he said to himself), "I would alight, roll up my sleeves and proceed to push and prod until I extricated the coach from the mud so we could continue on our journey!"

"Aha, I see. Well, let me ask you another question," pressed the veteran coachman, who somehow didn't seem as impressed with the answer as his young colleague. "What would you then do if, after all your efforts and much pushing and prodding and pulling, you were then simply unable to dislodge the stuck coach?"

"Well," said the youngster, removing his cap and scratching his head in thought, "I guess I would have no choice but to ask my passengers to get off and help me push so we could get the coach out of the mud," he concluded, confident that this was the correct answer.

The older ba'al agula shook his head sadly and proceeded, "What then would you do if after all your efforts, with all the help of the passengers, nothing helped and you simply could not get the coach unstuck out of the mud?"

Bewildered, the youngster was dumbstruck and did not know what to say. "I see you are simply unworthy and not fit for the job. I'm sorry but you are just not cut out for taking over my job as the town coachman," said the older ba'al agula.

"Wait!" perked up the young man. "What is the answer? You haven't told me what I should have done in such a case!"

"Ahhh." With a gleam in his wise eyes the veteran coachman put his sturdy old arm around the young man as he led him down the street, and advised, "You see, the answer, my young friend, is quite simple: an expert coachman is careful not to let his coach end up in the mud in the first place!"

So must we act, concluded Rav Biderman. We must conduct ourselves wisely, with tact and a measure of caution, never allowing ourselves to let the yetzer lure us after him into the mud! If we distance ourselves from him and his traps we won't need to get unstuck, for we will never have landed in the mud in the first place altogether!


It is well known that the parshiyos of Shemos, Va'eira, Bo, Beshalach, Yisro and Mishpatim stand for the acronym Shovavim and are hinted at by the pasuk "Shuvu Banim Shovavim" – Repent, My wayward children, says Hashem. The segula of these days includes saying Tehillim, rectifying our speech through fasting a ta'anis dibbur, when one abstains from all speech except tefillos, berachos and absolutely necessary things. Many also have the custom to fast Monday and Thursday or on Erev Shabbos. These days are known to be a rectification for Tikkun Habris and Yesod, and for Chatas Ne'urim. During a shana me'uberes (leap year), the two other parshiyos of Teruma and Tetzaveh are also included in this tikkun.

The Shinuver Rav in his sefer, Divrei Yechezkel on Shemos, tells us that the first letters of the pasuk (Shemos 1:1): "Ve'elE ShemoT BneI YisraeL Haba'iM MitzraimaH" spell the word Hashavim – those who repent and the last spell the word Tehillim. It is a well-known segula for this sin to recite Tehillim, especially during Shovavim. He also teaches

in the name of Rav Mordechai of Czernobyl that there is a segula to fast Erev Shabbos and to say Tehillim on Shabbos as a tikkun.





Rav Sosana, the Rosh Kollel of Ohr Dovid from Rishon LeTzion, told the following story:

I once traveled to meet Rav Kaduri to ask him to write a kamiya (amulet) for a friend who needed his help. The writing of kabbalistic amulets is a long, time-consuming and painstaking process, requiring concentration and preparations, as well as yichudim and other kabbalistic forms of kavanos. So I was hesitant to request it, except that my friend's need was great.

When I sat with Rav Kaduri and explained what I needed, he immediately smiled his characteristic smile and agreed. He sat down and got to work, while I sat patiently waiting. After an hour or so, the voice of the Rebbetzin was heard calling the Rav to supper. The Rav was so engrossed in the task at hand that he did not hear her calling.

Seeing that there was no response, the Rebbetzin came in, not knowing about the amulet or what the Rav was engaged in. She simply worried about taxing his health with his rigorous schedule and she was looking after his best interests, ensuring that he ate his regular meals and took care of his health.

As she approached, the Rav was so absorbed that he did not respond, even when she repeated herself, saying that his food would get cold. In order to get his attention she shook the table a bit, but that bit was all that it took!

The table shook and the inkpot spilled, ruining all the work that the Rav had done! I sat on the side, watching and not knowing how I should respond or react. Instead of getting angry or even upset at the Rebbetzin, who had accidentally ruined all his work, Rav Kaduri began to laugh! He then turned to me and said, "She knows what she is doing!"

I learned a great lesson, and glimpsed the gadlus (greatness) of the Tzaddik that day.

Rav Benayahu Shmueli once testified that he never saw Rav Kaduri get angry, even when there seemed to be a justifiable reason for doing so. He always laughed off even the most infuriating and seemingly difficult circumstances. He was a special Tzaddik, totally absorbed in Torah, his whole being crying out: "I am a servant of Hashem!"

(Rav Kaduri Chap 13, pgs 154-155)


The date September 11, 2001 will be remembered historically as a tragic day. The events of the horrific terrorist attack on US soil touched so many lives. Nonetheless there are many accounts of hashgacha (divine providence) and emuna (faith) that have come down to us. Here is one account of a miracle that the protagonist attributes to the power of Rav Kaduri's blessings and berachos:

I am a businessman whose operations span many continents. My office was in the World Trade Center and I had a company that employed many workers, conducting business there for many years. I always consulted Rav Kaduri before entering into my many business ventures and I sought his blessing and advice again and again, as I saw success after success.

The date was September 1. I took my scheduled flight and landed in Eretz Yisrael. I made my way to the hotel where I had booked a room, where I spent the week in business meetings. I recorded the details of the many proposals and deals and prepared to bring them before the Rav for his advice and blessings. I visited the Rav on the last day of my trip and he listened attentively, giving his advice and blessings for success. Then after all this he made a most unusual request: "Please remain here in Eretz Yisrael for another day. Do not go back to the US today; go back the next day, tomorrow."

The request was uncharacteristic, but as someone who has enjoyed Rav Kaduri's blessings and advice, I did not hesitate. I began to make preparations. I called my travel agent and canceled my flight and taxi to the airport, and had him rearrange them for the following day. I also had to book an additional day at my hotel. Then I remembered my employees. They were on vacation till my return. I had to make several calls to have them all notified that their vacation would be extended by a day and that the office would remain closed. All these calls and changes and rebookings cost me no small amount of time, effort and money, but the thought of not heeding the Rav's request did not even cross my mind. It saved all of our lives.

On September 11, at 6:30 a.m., I arrived at the airport terminal in Ben Gurion. At seven o'clock I sat in the business lounge to relax and review the various deals and transactions I had done and would close. By 10:00 a.m., our flight was in the air and I closed my eyes to nap and rest. By 1:00 p.m., when I opened my eyes, lunch was served and afterward I tried to rest once more. By late afternoon, 8:46 a.m. EST, the tragedy had struck. I sat together in shock and horror along with all the passengers, as news of the terrorist attack unfolded. I was shocked perhaps more than the others, as I realized that the Rav's request had saved my life and the lives of all my employees! His far-seeing holy eyes had perceived what others had not, and his seemingly strange request to stay one more day had spared me from being in my office on that terrible day.

(Rav Kaduri Chap 14, pgs 166-169)



ben Rav Aharon Aryeh (Leib) of Premishlan

Rav Itzikel of Kalisch was Rav Meir Premishlaner's brother. He was renowned far and wide as a Tzaddik and it was well known that his door was always open and his house welcoming to all weary travelers, strangers and beggars.

It was Erev Shabbos and the Rebbetzin had just baked challos. The braided loaves were sitting in the kitchen, when in came a poor traveler, a non-Jew, begging for bread. The Rebbetzin had no other bread to offer but the very challos she had just baked in honor of Shabbos and she hesistated to cut them, since whole challos were needed to fulfill the obligation for the Shabbos meal. When Rav Itzikel noticed her hesitation, he told her in jest, "Cut the challos. Don't worry – no blood will come from it!" The Rebbetzin did as her husband, the Tzaddik, bade. She cut her beautiful challos and gave a generous slice to the poor, starving beggar. The gentile ate his full and went his way.

Some time later, Rav Itzikel was traveling in Hungary through the Carpathian mountains when he was beset by armed robbers. The brigands held him up and confiscated all his money and belongings. They bound him and brought him to the leader and chief of their gang so that he could decide his fate.

"Should we let him go? He might reveal our hideout! I say we kill him!"

So went the arguments among the highwaymen until the leader silenced them all. "This Jew saved my life when I was starving! Release him! Harm not a hair on his head! Return to him all his money and belongings and set him free!" And so they released Rav Itzikel and he returned home, unharmed, to Kalisch.When Rav Itzikel came home he reminded the Rebbetzin of the time when they gave the gift of charity to a poor, starving non-Jewish beggar when they fed him her Shabbos challos. "See – I told you back then, cut the challos, no blood will come from it! Indeed I was right, the blood that was not spilled was my own!" (Sippurei Tzaddikim)




Asher Pasach – “He passed over the houses of Bnei Yisrael” (Shemos 12:27).

The Munkaczer Rebbe told how one Parshas Bo a strange thing happened. Rav Moshe Leib Sassover stood up after davening the Shabbos Maariv and began to recite the beracha for Hallel! No one dared interrupt the Rebbe, who was so enraptured – and, to the amazement of all present, Rav Moshe Leib proceeded to recite the entire Hallel, just as we do on Pesach night after Maariv!

The following year, his talmidim gathered again on Parshas Bo expecting the same thing – but it was Shabbos as usual. It seems that that year he had reached such levels of dveikus that he drew down upon himself the light of Pesach night, owing to the auspicious time of the parsha. For this reason he recited the full Hallel as we do on Pesach. (Divrei Torah Munkacsz VIII 36; Siach Zekeinim I p. 96)

It was Parshas Bo in Lizhensk and the talmidim of the holy Tzaddik, the Rebbe Reb Melech, were gathered together at their Rebbe’s table. It was Rav Moshe Leib Sassover’s first Shabbos in Lizhensk with the Rebbe Reb Melech, who honored Rav Moshe Leib with saying a D’var Torah at the tisch.

This is what Rav Moshe Leib said: When Hashem came to Mitzrayim (Egypt), he found it full of filthy, impure idols and all forms of idolatrous practices. When Hashem saw the Jewish homes, however, “the houses of Bnei Yisrael,” He was filled with great joy! And so Hashem “skipped over” them, pasach al batei Bnei Yisrael – Hashem skipped and danced with joy over the Jewish homes!

Hashem was so happy and overjoyed that He danced as one who is overjoyed dances and skips! Hashem danced over the Jewish rooftops, so to speak, shouting: “Here lives a Jew, here lives a Jew! – Du voint a Yid! Du voint a Yid!” And so saying, Rav Moshe Leib himself jumped up onto the table and began to dance and sing, “Du voint a Yid! Du voint a Yid! – Here lives a Jew, here lives a Jew!”

(Chiddushei HaRamal II p. 8)

Permit me to add that I think the same can be said today. Wherever we go in chutz la’aretz, in the galus of North and South America, Australia, New Zealand, Russia, Ukraine, London, Paris and Rome, wherever Hashem’s Shechina wanders with us in exile, the lands are full of impurity, filth, idolatry, atheism, ignorance, debauchery, cruelty, licentiousness and worse! There, among all the darkness, when Hashem discovers a Jewish home filled with light, surely He dances for joy over those Jewish homes, singing, “Du voint a Yid! Du voint a Yid! – Here lives a Jew, here lives a Jew!”



“But for all of Bnei Yisrael there was light in their dwellings (settings)” (10:23).

What was this dirty, shapeless mass? Yankel was exasperated. He had been digging and mining for weeks. Day after day he had made his way to the mines, donned heavy work clothes and lowered himself to the seemingly bottomless pit. There, the excavations proceeded in the pitch dark, a darkness of never-ending night. One thing held him: the promises that this mine had yielded diamonds worth a fortune. He had toiled and labored in grime and dust, and at the end of each disappointing day dragged his weary aching muscles back, scrubbed off the muck and grime and filth, vowing that the next day would bring the treasure. Now his pickaxe struck something hard and he dislodged an unwilling dark, hard mass. What was it? Could it be? He washed off the clinging mud and dirt and shouted out, “Eureka! I have it!”

The other miners gathered around. “Uh, what do you have there, Yankel?” asked Moish. Moish was a bit slow. Yankel showed him the rough, uncut stone.

“What? This hunk of rock? This piece of stone? What’s so special about it?”

“What’s so special?” yelled Yankel incredulously. “Just you wait till I have it cleaned, cut, polished and set in a golden setting! Then we will see!!!”

When a person first discovers a diamond, it looks like little more than a dark, black, grimy stone. It is dirty and does not shine from its place nested in the wall of the mine. First it has to be chipped away and removed from the wall. Even then it looks nothing like a diamond. Then it must be scrubbed and cleaned. Even then it bears no resemblance. One must have it cut and polished to reveal its sparkle. Even then its true splendor is not yet revealed, for only when it is set in the proper setting of gold or silver does it glow, allowing its beauty and splendor to truly shine through.

The holy Rizhiner, Rav Yisrael, explained our pasuk using the mashal of a precious stone as follows: “But for Bnei Yisrael there was light be’Moshavosam” – in their settings, just like a precious stone needs a proper setting, as any jeweler will tell you. Every Jewish soul is a diamond in the rough. It can be in a state of lowliness and suffering, living a dark and bleak life. But even in the darkest times a Jew must remember that he has a lofty soul, a diamond that can be cleaned and polished through Torah study and mitzva observance. But a lot depends on the setting. A Yid must be in the proper setting, in a Jewish neighborhood, in a Yiddishe home, in the Beis Medrash, Yeshiva, seminary or kollel. Then, set in its proper setting, the Jewish soul will truly shine with an otherworldly brilliance.



Rav Elimelech Biderman shared the following story about the simcha of being a Yid:

Rav Shmuel Munkis was one of the greatest talmidim and Chassidim of Rav Shneur Zalman, the Alter Rebbe of Chabad and author of the Tanya.

A fire once broke out in his home that destroyed everything and razed his entire home to the ground. Everything went up in flames. Everything was destroyed; there was nothing left. Nothing but…miraculously, one bottle of mashkeh (spirits) was spared! Quickly, Reb Shmuel sntached up the bottle and ran with it to the Beis Medrash.

He began to pour out generous portions of mashkeh, distributing it while calling out, “L’chaim, l’chaim!” And so he began to dance and sing in joyful ecstasy, “Hoy, hoy, hoy – shelo asani goy! – Blessed is Hashem for not making me a gentile!!!”

His friends shook their heads sadly. Their worst fears had been confirmed: Rav Shmuel had lost his mind along with all his worldly possessions! The blow must have been too much for him to bear, they concluded.

Hearing their dire pronouncements, Rav Shmuel contradicted them, explaining his bizarre behavior: “If I were a non-Jewish idolater who worshiped my own handiwork, sticks and stones, then the fire would have consumed my idols and would have burned my god. But I am a Yid! I believe in the one true G-d Who made the Heavens and the earth, Who is incorporeal and transcendent – Whom no fire can harm or touch! And so the fire may have consumed all my earthly possessions but I still have my G-d!”

And so he continued to sing, dance and distribute mashkeh: “L’chaim, l’chaim! Hoy, hoy, hoy – shelo asani goy!!!”


Rav Elimelech Biderman shared the following parable about Hashem’s mercy as a Father for His children:

There were once two brothers, Reuven and Shimon. Reuven was the elder, the firstborn son, a successful merchant and a cunning businessman, who soon amassed a fortune and grew wealthy. Shimon, the younger son, was destitute. He tried his hand at many and various odd jobs and professions, yet sadly, fortune did not smile upon his many endeavors and he was left impoverished.

One day, as Shimon passed by his brother’s mansion, he decided to go in and ask for his brother’s help. Perhaps if I tell him of my plight and explain my dire situation, he will have mercy and help me out, he reasoned.

The guards at the gate reluctantly let him enter, and the butler led the vagabond before the master of the house, because he had introduced himself as his younger brother. Reuven beheld his younger brother before him. He was dressed in rags and tatters and Reuven felt disgust rather than pity. With barely concealed annoyance, he listened to his younger brother’s pleas, turning a blind eye and a deaf ear to his entreaties.

“My brother, please do not turn me away!” begged Shimon.

“Go away! Who do you think you are? I am an only son – I have no brother! You have the wrong address!” Reuven yelled and had Shimon removed from the premises.

“How can you do this to me? I am your own flesh and blood!” But Reuven was unmoved.

Some days later, Reuven went to visit his parents’ home. He was appalled when his father’s reception was cold and remote. “Who are you?” asked his father.

“Abba, have you gone senile? It’s me, Reuven, your firstborn son!”

“I have no son named Reuven. You must have the wrong address,” insisted the father stubbornly.

Nothing Reuven said or did mattered. His father feigned total ignorance, finally spitting back at him in anger, “I am Shimon’s father! If you are his brother, then I am your father as well! And if not…!” Reuven hung his head in shame – he understood the message.

Concluded Rav Melech Biderman: A Yid must always recognize his brothers in distress! For how he treats his brothers, so will his Father treat him back! For Hashem is Av HaRachaman – a merciful Father.


The Husyatiner Rebbe revealed himself in a dream to Rav Nachum Mordechai Frum about a decade after he had passed away. In his dream, the Chassid Rav Nachum Mordechai held a kvittel, a note with his petition and his name, and asked the Tzaddik, the Husyatiner Rebbe, for a yeshua, a blessing for salvation. The Husyatiner answered him thus: “When Moshe Rabbeinu came down Har Sinai, Hashem revealed to him that the Kaddish DeRabbanan recited after Ein Keilokeinu and before Aleinu has the power to bring about yeshuos and refuos, salvation and healing, and it is a segula for all manner of things!” The Husyatiner told him to publicize this segula in his name and the Gedolim present in the dream accepted his words, concurring that this was as a Halacha leMoshe MiSinai!





Rav Dovid of Lelov used to travel among the villages to help bring back Jews to Hashem and urge them to do teshuva. He was once traveling in the company of the Yid HaKadosh of Peshis’cha, when they passed a certain village. Rav Dovid excused himself, saying to the Yid HaKadosh, “I must go in here – I’ll be right back.”

When the Lelover returned, the Yid HaKadosh asked him what he had done there and what he had seen. Rav Dovid told him the following story:

I entered the fleish gesheft and there I found the butcher with a large, sharp meat cleaver in his hands raised above his head, about to strike his own father, saying, “If I did not fear G-d, I would chop off your head with this meat cleaver!!!”

“Did you hear that?” concluded Rav Dovid. “Aza yiras shamayim – now that is some fear of Heaven that he had!” And he so worked himself up over the butcher’s yiras shamayim that it took him quite some time to calm down again! (Otzar Yisrael)


A Chassid named Reb Yankel made his living selling tallow candles at the market fair. As his family grew, so did their needs and his livelihood did not suffice. He decided to borrow money, purchase two horses and a new wagon, and thus buy more tallow in order to make more candles to sell at the fair. Before doing so, however, he visited his Rebbe, Rav Dovid of Lelov, to secure a beracha for success.

The Tzaddik listened to his Chassid’s idea, blessed him with hatzlacha and rested his head in thought and rapture. Awakening from this state, Rav Dovid reached over and lifted a simple wooden cup that sat on the table. “Here,” he told the astonished Chassid, “take this wooden becher and may it serve as a shemira, a talisman, to guard you on your way!” He paused and added, “May this wooden becher be a segula for hatzlacha and shemira!” So saying, he presented the bewildered Chassid with the simple wooden cup.

Reb Yankel trusted and honored his Rebbe – and so too he treasured the simple wooden cup, taking it with him on his travels. He went from village to village buying tallow. After making a large number of candles, he wrapped them up, bundled them and headed to far-off Warsaw to try his hand selling them at the fair and making a profit.

One day, as the wagon made its way along the deserted country roads, a highway robber assaulted Reb Yankel. He jumped out, terrified the horses, grabbed their reins and threatened Reb Yankel.

“Stop here! Now, you dirty old Jew – give me all your money this instant or I will slit your throat!” he shouted, brandishing a long, sharp knife!

Poor Reb Yankel was terrified. “Please,” he begged, “have mercy on my poor wife and children and do not turn them into orphans! Spare my life and I will gladly give you all you ask.”

“Hurry up, you dirty Jew – I know your money is well hidden, get it for me now and I will consider sparing your worthless life!”

Trembling from head to toe, Yankel went to fetch his purse, his quivering lips soundlessly whispering the words of the Viduy (confession), his fingers fumbling on the ropes that tied his bundles securely. Just then he remembered the wooden becher.

“Please allow me a quick sip of brandy to steady my frazzled nerves – my hands are shaking so I cannot open the knots!” he begged the robber.

“Hurry up! Hey, what do you have there? You Jews are always keeping the best for yourselves – gimmee that brandy! Hand it over!” And so saying, he snatched the wooden cup from Yankel, and proceeded to down the entire cup of brandy. As he greedily guzzled down the liquor he began to gasp and choke – and fell down dead.

Yankel was so frightened, he kept reciting Kriyas Shema and Viduy till he noticed that the violent murderous robber was not moving. When a bird finally came down and sat on the robber’s hat, Yankel realized he was dead. A miracle! Yankel tried to pry the wooden wonder becher from his mouth and had to cut it free. He then decided to load up the dead body unto his wagon reasoning, “Who knows what would happen if a dead non-Jew were found on the road? Perhaps the authorities would try to blame the local Jews and start a blood libel! When I reach Warsaw, I will ask the chevra kadisha for help and we will bury him somewhere.”

When he reached Warsaw the town crier called out in the streets, “The police are offering anyone a thirty-thousand-ruble reward for the capture of the murderer and thief, Robert the Robber! Dead or Alive! Thirty-thousand-ruble reward for the highwayman who has been terrorizing the good citizens of Warsaw!”

Reb Yankel was overjoyed; not only had he escaped, but he had captured the robber as well! He proceeded to the police station to claim his reward. When the officers heard his story they sized up the poor, weak, old Jew and laughed and scoffed! “Ha, Ha, Ha! Be off with your jokes! Robert the Robber would clobber you!”

They wouldn’t listen to his pleas, but the sheriff himself, hearing the commotion, came outside. Reb Yankel led him to the wagon and presented the dead body of the robber to the astonished sheriff and his astounded officers. Reb Yankel collected his reward and rejoiced in the Lelover Rebbe’s words. The wooden wonder becher brought with it both shemira and hatzlacha! It had safely guarded him and had been the secret of his success! [This story was heard by Moshe Adler, a descendant of Reb Yankel, the one to whom these miracles occurred. He testified that he had seen the wondrous wooden cup himself.] (Shem Tov Maasei Tzaddikim p. 89)






A modern German Jew known as Deutschel once visited Rav Mordechai of Lechovitch. Rav Mordechai told him, “There is no greater mussar sefer than a clock! When the clock strikes and the hour chimes, the clock is saying, ‘Another hour has passed, never to return!’”

When the Deutschel heard these holy words from the Tzaddik, his heart was seized with such a longing to repent that he immediately awakened to teshuva and was transformed on the spot into a sincere yerei shamayim! From that day forward, he told people that whenever he heard a clock strike the hour, it chimed for him the Rebbe’s message again and again, “Another hour of life has gone by, have you done teshuva?”

“Whenever I hear the clock strike the hour,” he later explained, “I remember all the past hours of my life and what I have done with my allotted time, how I have taken advantage of my time in this world or failed to take advantage of my life and wasted my years!” (Shem Tov)