The following story and its lesson, was heard from Rabbi Nissan Mangel sheyichye at the weekly Shabbos farbrengen in Ksav Sofer.
Reb Pinchos Koritzer once called in one of his chassidim and instructed him to travel to certain cities and towns in order to raise money. At that time he also gave him a paper on which he wrote the names of chassidim, stating you should make sure to meet each one and inform them of the reason you are visiting on my behalf.
The chossid did as he was instructed and in each place made sure to visit the specified people. When they heard that the Rebbe, Reb Pinchos needs money now and cannot wait until they send in their yearly or quarterly donation, they all gave generously. If the Rebbe is asking, it must be for an extremely important matter and therefore, we should give more than we are accustomed to give.
Arriving at one spacious house, he expected to be greeted with joy and happiness,
But instead a woman, the lady of the house greeted him with tears and a painful cry.
She informed him that her husband was indeed one of the Tzaddiks’ big supporters; he gave the Rebbe large sums of money numerous times a year. But alas two weeks ago tragedy hit.
Her husband decided that this year he will travel to the big fair by boat. This way, the traveling time should be much shorter. However, alas, misfortune struck and on the third day of the traveling, the boat sunk. The vast majority of the bodies washed ashore and while her husbands’ body wasn’t found, everyone is presumed dead. Now I am all alone, all of my husbands’ money was on the boat, and I am now penniless. I am so sorry, I can’t give anything.
The chossid didn’t know what to say, he just assured her that the Rebbe will definitely understand and wished her that from now on she shall only experience good tidings.
When he returned to the tzaddik, he delivered all the money and gave a detail report of all the people who gave him and what amount they gave. He then noted, Rebbe I managed to meet every person you noted on the list, besides one. He then repeated to the tzaddik what that persons wife said; that her husband drowned in the tragic boat accident.
Reb Pinchos replied, No! the man is still alive! He did not drown.
Seeing the chossid’s quizzical expression, as if saying, if everyone else on the boat drowned, why are you saying that this one individual was miraculously saved; Reb Pinchos said the following: I wrote that list after the tragic accident. If that person would have drowned together with the rest of the people, Hashem would of not put that persons name in my mind to write. Since by hashgacha protis, his name was put on the list that is a proof that he is alive and well.
Once again the chossid didn’t know what to say, he just hoped that the Rebbe’s words should materialize speedily and the husband should return home, in short time.
Sure enough a month later the “widow” came to the tzaddik to plead to him to find a heter for her to remarry. She is a young lady, with small children and she has no way to support the family. Yes, she heard from the Rov in her city that witnesses must testify that they saw the husbands dead body, but if all the other passengers perished, obviously her husband fared the same fate.
To her happiness and shock, Reb Pinchos repeated his words, “Your husband did not drown, he is alive and well!”
But at the same time, it was hard for her to believe it, Rebbe, she said, if he is safe, why didn’t he come home or send a message? If the Rebbe sees through his ruach hakodesh that he is alive, please tell me where he is, she pleaded.
Reb Pinchos replied, “Go home and stay in your house one more week and you will see that he is alive.”
Full of hope, the woman thanked the Rebbe for the wonderful news and rushed home. She eagerly awaited her husbands return. However, the seventh day arrived and her husband did not return. Hearing that her neighbor is driving to Koritz, she went along in the wagon.
Coming into the tzaddiks’ room once again, she began repeating her tale of woe. However, as soon as she stopped for a moment, Reb Pinchos said, “Your husband is right now in your home. He arrived an hour after you left. I meant a full seven days and being that the ride was leaving, you left before the day was over.
The lesson from this story is clear as day.
Reb Pinchos stated that the thought to write the persons name was given to him from Hashem. Therefore it was impossible that he is no longer among the living. If the writing of a tzaddik has so much power, how much more so, something that a tzaddik repeatedly said, is definitely true.
Yes it is twenty-four long years since chof-zayin Adar. Yes the darkness has become darker in so many aspects. But that doesn’t change the fact that the Rebbe has repeatedly said, “We are the last generation of golus and the first generation of geulah.” As well as other statements of his, such as, “ut ut koomt Moshiach” and many similar sayings.
But you may ask, how much longer, so look at the lady in the above story, she waited seven days, how much longer does she have to wait, but yet, shortly after she gave up, her husband arrived safely.
So too, may we speedily herald the coming and revelation of Moshiach tzidkeinu speedily in our days, and we will all see how the words of the Rebbe are fulfilled, in their entirety.
Just to conclude the above story, Reb Pinchos Koritzer than said; I will tell you how and why your wonderful husband was saved.
Among his many wonderful acts of kindness was that he was particular in giving the batei midrash and shuls money for oil in order light the wicks. On the boat was a barrel of oil and when your husband fell into the water, that barrel floated by. With his last strength he pulled himself onto the barrel and remained afloat above the water, until that barrel beached. And yes it took him all this time to get home. From now on, you both should only experience Hashems’ kindness in a revealed way.
The author can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org