Stories of Tzadikim / 11 The Hidden Talmid Chacham
Hold on to Shabbos with
Stories of Tzadikim
With Rav Yussie Zakutinsky
A gut voch everybody. The Baal Shem Tov had many students, there were 2 particular brothers who were absolutely brilliant people, huge talmidei chachamim. Not only that, they also came from a family of rabbis, judges, dayanim, a very illustrious family of torah and they got connected to the Baal Shem.
These 2 brothers had a younger sister and she was getting to the age where she could get married. They figured they’d go to the Baal Shem for a bracha for shidduchim that their sister should get married without any problems. So they go and ask for a bracha, the Baal Shem says you know what? I’ll do something even better, instead of just giving a bracha I'll tell you who the chosson is and where to find him. The Baal Shem takes a paper and writes down the name and the shtetl where he could be found.
In those days things were a little different, when these brothers told their sister that the Baal Shem Tov has a chosson she said okay gevaldik let’s get married. The 3 siblings travel to the shtetl, they’ve never been there before and start asking around. Let’s call him Moishe so they begin asking around for Reb Moishe. People are thinking Reb Moishe? I’m not sure. Finally people say you mean Moishe the peasant?
So they meet this Moishe, he’s a sweet guy, delightful middos and is a complete am ha’aretz. Doesn’t know the alef beis, his family is all the same way as well. It seems like it’s not a good shidduch for this illustrious family of talmidei chachamim but the Baal Shem Tov said it’s a shidduch so they listen.
The chasuna was held back by the girl's family where the Baal Shem Tov was. By the sheva brachos the chosson is sitting next to the Baal Shem Tov. The minhag was that the chosson says a deep torah by the sheva brachos. The Baal Shem Tov turns to the chosson and says nu, say a vort a torah. The chosson answers I don’t know anything, not even the alef beis. The Baal Shem Tov took his handkerchief and waved it over the face of the chosson, all of a sudden the chosson’s eyes lit up and he began saying the most beautiful and deep torah for half an hour. Once he finishes his eyes go back to normal and he asks what just happened?
The sheva brachos the next day the Baal Shem Tov asks again, nu, share a torah? The chosson has the same answer and says he doesn’t know anything. The Baal Shem Tov waves his handkerchief, the chosson lights up and shares incredibly beautiful and profound torah for a long time. Once the shiur is over he’s back to being the same ignoramus. This follows itself every single day of the sheva brachos.
After the week is over the Baal shem Tov brings the chosson into his office and says I’m not stupid, I understand that the family you married into has a different background than you. I understand that you’re not as learned and you probably think that the miracles that took place over the week with the handkerchief is just a miracle that I caused. You should know that you are a talmid chochom, you have the soul of a talmid chochom, you have lots of Torah inside of you. It happens to be that the Torah is covered by years of ignorance.
All I did in those times was uncover the Torah you already have. Now after sheva brachos, that you now know what kochos you have inside of you, go to yeshiva, go learn and discover the words of Torah that are beneath your surface.
That Maaseh is not only true for that chossid, it’s true for every single one of us. A yid is overflowing with torah and kedusha. A person doesn’t have to acquire Torah or Madregos from the outside. You have a neshama, a chelek eloka mima’al mamash it means you are a lebedig, living piece of dvar Hashem. Avodas Hashem is about uncovering that, the chosson was able to realize that with the handkerchief of the Baal shem. We have to realize that from the story of the handkerchief of the Baal Shem Tov to remember who we are and the kochos we have. Bezras Hashem to uncover the kochos that we have to become the people that we have to become, that we will become and want to become.
Hashem should bless us with a week of giluy of revelation of who we are, of what Hashem is, the g-dliness behind the surface, a week of geulah shefa bracha.