23 Nov A Powerful Story- Part 2
Last week, I related the story of Reb Yosef who was childless for many years. Reb Yosef was a chasid of the Maggid MiKozhnitz, and finally, when pushed by his wife, went to the Maggid and insisted strongly that the great Rebbe should bless him with a child. The Maggid asked him if he was willing to become impoverished and, after consulting his wife, he agreed. So, the Maggid sent him to the Chozeh MiLublin. The Chozeh informed Reb Yosef that years before, when he was young, Reb Yosef had broken off an engagement and never properly asked the young woman for forgiveness. Then, the Chozeh directed Reb Yosef where to find the woman to ask her for mechila. After traveling to far away Bolta, he amazingly found the woman he had spurned so many years before. She told him that she would forgive him if he would use his life’s savings to help her brother in Slovakia marry off a child. After traveling to Slovakia, Reb Yosef gave the woman’s brother all his savings and finally he and his wife merited to have a son. In the process of giving his life savings to the brother however, Reb Yosef astonishingly discovered that the woman he had spoken with in the marketplace of Bolta had really passed away fifteen years before.
Now, let’s take a closer look at the story. The very first lesson is how careful we must be not to hurt someone’s feelings. Sometimes if we deeply hurt someone, it could have a long lasting effect and impede us from success in our own lives. As we see in this case, Reb Yosef’s hurting this young lady blocked him and his wife for many years in starting their own family. Secondly, if we do wrong someone, we should make it our business not to procrastinate in asking for forgiveness. In this case, because he put it off, he needed some miraculous intervention to bring someone back from the dead and he needed to give up his entire life’s savings. Similarly, because the shevatim never properly asked Yosef for forgiveness, the ten martyrs had to die and, according to the Ben Ish Chai, the ten children of Reb Yochannan also had to die. Thirdly, we see that sometimes we need to come on to more than one tzaddik in order to achieve assistance. As in this case, it took the joint effort of the Maggid MiKozhnitz and the Chozeh of Lublin to rescue this couple from their misery.
Finally, we see the importance of emunas chachomim, complete belief in our tzaddikim in order to avail ourselves of their help. We see that Reb Yosef was willing to travel to the marketplace of Bolta, to then travel to far off Slovakia, and then liquidate his fortune all on the advice of the Chozeh. Rav Chaim Kanievsky, shlit”a, says that when one has faith in the blessing of a tzaddik, the blessing is much more powerful. In the merit of our trust in our Gedolim, may we be zoche to long life, good health, and everything wonderful.
Just as an afterword to my dear readership family, this week there was over one million new cases of COVID-19 in America. Dr. Fauci and the CDC issued a warning that people should try to celebrate Thanksgiving at home. Thanksgiving is not particularly our holiday but I took this as a word of caution for those of us who are planning Chanukah gatherings. Like many of you, I am drooling to once again get together with my children and their spouses, and with all my grandchildren. But, we can’t let our guards down. Our families want us to be there for the long haul. The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are already in sight. The Moderna vaccine has proven to have, so far, an exciting 95 percent effectiveness. This is astounding as the measles vaccine is only 93 percent and the flu vaccine is only 50 percent effective. So, with the help of Hashem, we finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. Let’s not let our guards down as we head to the finish line. It’s worth being patient a little longer for the blessing of arichas yomim. Have a safe and wonderful Shabbos.