| Story Time |

When a Tzaddik Prays: Chapter 6

“But Rebbi… What about the trip to Leipzig? The tailor? The mysterious Shabbos guest?”


R’ Yosef smiled with anticipation as he took a deep breath, readying himself to finish the story.

“Okay, R’ Berel, listen closely. This is what the Baal Shem Tov told his talmid.”

“Do you remember the first stop we made in the forest, to that mysterious man and his wife?” The Baal Shem Tov gazed penetratingly at his talmid.

“Yes, of course.”

“He is one of the hidden tzaddikim of the generation. When Mashiach arrives, he will be the first to know, and thus I paid him a special visit to have a conversation with him about certain matters.”

“Then, as you will recall, we stopped off at a stream. You know of course that everything Hashem made in this world has a special purpose. Nothing is random. Everything exists to be elevated and filled with meaning. No one had ever made a brachah over the water in that stream, and over time it has become smaller and smaller. Soon, it will be dried up forever, and I made a brachah on its water just in time.”

The Baal Shem Tov fell silent.

“But Rebbi… What about the trip to Leipzig? The tailor? The mysterious Shabbos guest?”

“All in due time…”

Sure enough, it would only be much later when the talmid would fully understand their sudden and mysterious trip to Leipzig. The mystery was solved when he was walking in the street one day, many years after the passing of the Baal Shem Tov, and a tall, respectfully dressed Jew passed him and did a double take.

“Shalom aleichem, Reb Yid.” The stranger stopped the talmid, staring at him intently. “I’m sorry for stopping you so suddenly, but I think I recognize your face from many years ago. Are you one of the students of the Baal Shem Tov?”

“Yes, I am. Who are you?”

“You were with your master in the city of Leipzig for Shabbos? At the home of a tailor there, am I right?”

“Yes, yes, that’s true.”

“Take a look at me and see if you recognize who I am.”

“Aha! I can’t believe it! You are that man who came into the home and observed us for the entire Shabbos. You were a professor at one of the universities there in Leipzig, correct?”

“Exactly right. You know, I wasn’t even a Jew. But as I was studying from textbooks that evening, I suddenly heard screaming and a frenzied commotion outside my window. I went out and discovered that two men had just been frozen like inanimate rocks by a holy Rabbi who had suddenly appeared in Leipzig at the Jewish tailor’s house. For some strange reason, I felt this indescribable, burning desire to see this holy Rabbi for myself, and I found myself rushing through the streets of Leipzig toward the tailor’s house.

Most people would have pushed me away when I arrived. Why should the tailor and your master have let me stay inside the house the entire Shabbos, intruding on your privacy and potentially taking away from the holiness of your day? But with eyes that see far beyond the physical planes, your master instructed that I be allowed to stay. And that’s because he sensed that I had a special soul inside of me. A spark was ignited within me that very Shabbos, awakening a great desire for holiness and truth. Not long after that, I abandoned my post as professor in the university and underwent a full conversion to the Jewish faith!”

R’ Yosef sighed contently.

“You see, R’ Berel? Sometimes we don’t understand why certain things happen, or why certain holy men go to certain places, or speak to certain people. But all is good, and all is for the good.”

“And speaking of which, look! We’ve arrived!”

Indeed, they had. R’ Yosef reigned in the horses, stopping just before a small cottage in the middle of the forest.

“It looks exactly how I imagined that small house looked like in the story with the Baal Shem Tov,” R’ Berel murmured. “I wonder if it’s the same person?”

“Hmmm…” R’ Yosef shrugged. “But that would mean they would have to be very, very old…”

They took their few belongings and exited the wagon. They knocked softly on the door. It swung open to reveal a small, old lady with a beaming face.

“We’re, uh, here on behalf of—”

But before they could finish their sentence, the elderly lady smiled and nodded.

“Yes, yes. You’re welcome to stay for Shabbos. And we will do whatever we can do.”

The two men heard movement behind them and saw an old man walking up to the cottage carrying a load of firewood in his hands.

“Shalom aleichem! We’re here on behalf of—”

“Welcome, welcome. We are so honored to have the two of you for Shabbos. Please, come inside and make yourselves comfortable.”

Shabbos came and the two men had no opportunity to speak to the couple about the evil decree they had come to receive help with. Every time they tried to broach the topic, the couple would gently steer the conversation into another direction.

Finally, on Motzaei Shabbos, the two men could hold back no longer.

To be continued…


(Originally featured in Mishpacha Jr., Issue 923)

Oops! We could not locate your form.