Stories of Tzadikim / 24 The Badichever's letter
Hold on to Shabbos with
Stories of Tzadikim
With Rav Yussie Zakutinsky
A gut voch. Let me tell you a maaseh. A yid once came to the Berditchover in a panic. So the Rebbe brings him in, ands asks what’s wrong. He says I have a wife and family that Boruch Hashem is healthy. For a living I rent a hotel from the Parutz, I pay him the rent and make the profit. That’s the deal
So the Berditvhover asks what’s the issue? So I haven’t paid rent in a long time, and the Porutz is getting very angry. He’s giving me an ultimatum, that if by Wednesday I don’t pay he’s taking my wife, my kids and all of us to jail. And we won’t see the light again.
Rebbe I need eitzah, something, I need help. The Berditchover sits back and thinks for a second, and he asks why haven’t you been paying rent? He says I can’t afford it. But you’re making money from the inn, why are you not paying the rent? He says because I have debts and payments. The regular costs to raise a family. And I saw in my town that there wasn’t any Jewish infrastructure where I’m from and I paid a melamed to teach my children. Then I noticed that there was barely a minyan. So I decided that I’d hire someone to come b’kvius to make the minyan.
The Berditchover is listening and he says okay, that’s fair. Then he says, we don’t even have a good mikva in town, people have to go to the town over and in the winter it’s very difficult. With all these debts and payments I can’t afford to pay the rent.
The Berditvchover says you taka have an excuse, nobody is stepping up and you’re doing an amazing thing. The rebbe goes to the back room for not even 10 seconds, takes a paper and gives it to the man. He says take this to the porutz and bezras Hashem everything will be okay.
The Berditchover was always b’zrizus. He always moved quickly, he didn’t pace, he ran. But even for the Berditchover to write a letter, seal it and have it all prepared, even for the Berditchover that’s impossible. The yid takes it but what can be in this letter? First of all, how can you write a letter so quickly? What can the Berditchover possibly say in this letter that is going to convince the Porutz to let go of my debt? The Tzadik says so, so I’ll listen.
He’s traveling, but he’s getting very curious about what it says inside. And if it says the wrong thing, I’m the one that’s going to suffer the wrath. So curiosity and fear is hitting him. Until eventually it gets the better of him, he opens the envelope and what does he see? A blank piece of paper.
What am I going to do now? I’m going to get in even more trouble! The Berdirchover said I should do it, he’s mechazek himself that he should believe in the tzadik. And fine. So he goes to the Porutz’s house, knocks on the door, his hand is trembling. The Porutz opens up and says what do you want over here, it’s Wednesday morning, time to pay your debt. So he’s like, I have this note from the Rov of Berditchov and he said I should present it to you. What are you wasting my time with Rabbis notes, give it to me.
He takes it, opens it up and he takes out the paper. The Porutz’s face turns white. He begins to shake, he has to sit down to gather himself. After a minute or two, the Porutz stands up, he says, okay you know what, the debt is cleared, I’m not going to collect the money. But going forward make sure to pay on time.
The yoke that’s now off his shoulders, mamash, Olam haba. He goes back to Berditchov to say thank you to the Rov. The Berditchover without him even saying anything, the Rebbe says if you didn’t open the envelope he would’ve given you the inn for free, as a gift. Because you opened it, at least he absolved the debts. But going forward make sure you pay on time. That’s what the Berditchover said.
Maaseh’s like that, Tzadikim, they’re a different way of life. We have to just believe in them, attach ourselves to them. By saying a maaseh of the Berditchover we should be zocheh to invoke his merit, a zechus on behalf of all of Klal yisroel. We should be zocheh to only see yeshuos, nechamos, only good things for ourselves, our families and all of Klal yisroel.
B’vias goel tzedek, B’mheirah B’yamenu amen.