by Rabbi Sholom DovBer Avtzon
When I wrote the book about the Slavita Brothers, I omitted the following story, which is oft-repeated in connection to their saga. (It is printed in Sippurei Chassidim and elsewhere).
There was a Jewish who was a chosid of the Shpoile Zeideh. Whenever he came he gave the tzaddik a generous donation for his tzedokah projects and would request a brocha for a child.
As the years were passing and he remained childless, he came more often and was looking for an opportune time to beseech the tzaddik
Once when he was there he noticed that the tzaddik was deeply immersed in his thoughts and supplications to Hashem and he figured this is the time to beseech the tzaddik until he gives the brocha I desperately am waiting for.
However, the tzaddik informed him that now he is preoccupied and he should wait.
Hearing this just confirmed his thinking that now the Rebbe is reaching much deeper in the heavens and this is the moment to seize; so he persisted in repeating his request.
At one point, seeing that he is not giving up, the Shpoile Zeide said, “If I have any merit, you will never have a child.
The man was heartbroken. He had been pinning his hopes on receiving a brocha and that was gone. Not
only had the Rebbe not blessed him, but the tzaddik told him to forget about it.
He began his return trip home a dispirited and dejected person.
On the way home, he passed through a town and noticed Reb Pinchos Koritzer davening and learning. He noticed that this person is special and decided he would try to elicit a brocha from him.
After asking a few people some questions, he was informed where the tzaddik lives, and when the tzaddik was in shul, he knocked on the door of his house.
The Rebbetzin opened the door and a quick glance confirmed his thoughts, the tzaddik doesn’t have money for yom tov. Perhaps his plan might work.
He told her that he is quite a distance from his hometown and would like to know if he can be their guest for yom tov.
The Rebbetzin replied, we don’t have any food yet for yom tov, so it would be difficult to share our meal with another person.
The man replied, Boruch Hashem I am well to do and I don’t need tzedokah to eat, I just need a place to eat the meal. If I can be your guest at the table, I will gladly pay for all the food and more. I just ask that you don’t inform your husband, until the seder.
The Rebbetzin, was happy to accept the offer and the person gave her a large amount of money. She happily went to the store and was able to buy all the provisions she needed for the meal, plus some items to spruce up the house.
Reb Pinchos knew that a few days before yom tov the Rebbetzin requests some money from him, but Boruch Hashem this year she is managing. With a happy mind, he continued his learning and davening.
The night of Pesach arrived and after maariv everyone rushed to their home. However, Reb Pinchos was in no rush to go home with everyone fearful that some people might see how poor he really is.
He was expecting to walk into a dimly lit house, but to his surprise, it was bright with many candles burning. He noticed that there were a few new amenities in the house as well, and for a moment he thought that the Rebbetzin couldn’t help herself and requested help from the community. However, today is yom tov and he is not going to disturb the seder, so he began the seder without questioning her.
After the second cup, he gently asked how she managed and she pointed to their guest saying that he covered all expenses.
Reb Pinchos understood that there is reason behind this generosity and asked him how can he help him?
The man poured out his heavy heart informing him what the tzaddik, the Shpoileh Zeideh told him.
Reb Pinchos replied if I have any merit in heaven you will have a child.
The man was thrilled and the heavenly court was in turmoil; which tzaddik should be listened to. Their decision was they will obey the tzaddik that doesn’t promise and that was Reb Pinchos.
The man had a son and one of that son’s children was the one who informed the government against the grandsons of Reb Pinchos Koritzer.
I did not publish this story primarily because I didn’t understand it and thought that I am missing some details. (as well as some other questions)
After publishing the book I met a son of a Boro Park Rov and asked him what I am missing here, and he said he heard from his father the story with the following explanation.
The Shpoile zeideh saw what the descendant of this person would do to other Jews. So how could he bless him, if that is going to cause anguish to another Jew, and therefore he refused to bless him.
However, Reb Pinchos saw the same thing, but he was facing a different dilemma, should I bless this person, when it is going to hurt me? Is my pain worth more than another Jew’s? And a tzaddik blesses one even if it would affect him.
So he gave the person the brocha he requested..
Dear reader, now that the story is explained should I include in future printings? Your feedback is always appreciated. I am happy to inform you that Bezras Hashem, the biography on the Mitteler Rebbe (second edition) was sent to the printer
This week’s post is l’zechus the complete and speedy refuah for my sister Chaya Rivkah bas Cheyena and all those who are in need of a brocha.
Rabbi Avtzon is a veteran mechanech and the author of numerous books on the Rebbeim and their chassidim. He can be contacted at avtzonbooks@gmailcom