06 Feb MISHPATIM: TESTS
The Divrei Shmuel
had a gabbai named
Reb Yisrael Zalman
Shelovsky. One day,
the Divrei Shmuel said
to his gabbai, “I need
two hundred rubles.
Please bring me two
hundred rubles.” The
gabbai was poor and
didn’t understand why
the rebbe asked him to
get him the money and
not one of his wealthy
chasidim. But the
Rebbe’s request was
sacred to him, and he
went to the Rebbe’s
chasidim, told them of
the rebbe’s request, and eventually gathered
the two hundred rubles that the rebbe
Two years later, the Rebbe once again told
Reb Shelovsky that he needed two hundred
rubles. Once again, the gabbai collected that
amount from the chasidim and gave the
money to the Rebbe.
Two years later, this story happened again.
One day, Reb Shelovsky told the Rebbe that
his daughter was about to get married, and he
didn’t have money for the chasunah.
The Divrei Shmuel stood up, opened a safe,
and took out six hundred rubles. “This is the
money you collected and brought to me. You
can have it for your daughter’s chasunah.”
The Divrei Shmuel explained, “I knew that
you weren’t able to put away money for your
children’s chasunos, so I asked you, three
times, to give me two hundred ruble. Now you
have money to marry off your daughter.”
The Divrei Shmuel added that Hashem does
the same. He wants us to be ready for the next
world, so Hashem gives us small experiences
of yesurim in this world, and we come to the
next world prepared and clean.
Note that the Divrei Shmuel asked his gabbai
to bring him the money because he knew he
would pass the test. Similarly, be aware that
whenever Hashem tests you, that means He
believes you can pass it. Hashem doesn’t test
us beyond our capabilities.
A student in the yeshiva of the Rebbe Reb
Zusha received a message that his mother was
just niftarah, and he should rush home to be at
the levayah. The bachur cried, fainted, and he
had no peace of mind. He wasn’t capable of
receiving this devastating message. Rebbe
Zusha told him, “You don’t have to go home.
Your mother is alive.” And indeed this was so.
A half a year later, once again a messenger
came and said that his mother was
niftarah. This time, the bachur
accepted this bitter message with
yishuv hadaas. Rebbe Zusha told
him, “Go home for the levayah.
This time it is true.” And indeed,
this time, it was true.
Rebbe Zusha explained that it
wasn’t ruach hakodesh. “It is just
that when Hashem tests someone,
he gives him the strength to stand
up to the test. You were so bitter
the first time; the test was beyond
you, so I knew it couldn’t be true.
The second time, you could hear the sad news,
and therefore I figured that it was true this
The “Yanuka” Rebbe of Karlin-Stolin (1869-
1922) once saw that one of his wealthy
chassidim was distressed and worried because
he heard that a ship carrying his merchandise
sunk in the sea. The Rebbe told him, “Don’t
worry. Your ship didn’t sink.”
The chassid calmed down, and later he heard
that, indeed, a different ship had sunk, and not
the one that was carrying his merchandise.
The Rebbe explained, “It wasn’t ruach
hakodesh. It is just that Hashem doesn’t test
someone beyond his abilities. I saw that you
couldn’t manage this test, so I understood that
it wasn’t your ship that sunk.”
This week’s parashah discusses an eved ivri (a
Jewish slave working for another Yid). When
the yovel year arrives in the middle of his
term, he is permitted to go free. Chazal tell us
that in our times, there is no such thing as an
eved ivri because there can’t be an eved ivri
without the opportunity to go free on yovel.
We can explain this because Hashem doesn’t
test us with tests beyond our ability. The Torah
understands that for the sanity and well-being
of the slave, he needs to hope for redemption.
In our time, when yovel isn’t a source of
salvation, the eved ivri wouldn’t be able to
hope for freedom. The Torah says that he can’t
be a slave. Therefore, Hashem won’t test the
eved ivri with tests beyond his ability to pass.