A Chassidic Story (#8)
Here are two stories from Shemen HaTov, a collection of Torah commentary and insights (Part I) of, and stories (Part II) about the Rebbe, Reb Shmelka of Nikolsburg. Throughout I will refer to this tzaddik as the Rebbe, Reb Shmelka because that’s what we chassidic cognoscenti do.
Once, Reb Chaim of Tzanz, the author of Divrei Chaim and founder of the Tzanz chassidic dynasty, was hosting a number of rabbis and chassidim. He told story about the Rebbe, Reb Shmelka, in which the Rebbe, Reb Shmelka performed some act which brought a dead Jew back to life. We’re being literal here. The dead Jew was dead, as in “ready to be buried” dead, not “down in the dumps” dead. The Divrei Chaim noticed a skeptical look on the face of one of the rabbis.
“You think this is impossible? You should know,” he said, “if they would tell me that the Rebbe, Reb Shmelka walked through an ancient graveyard filled with hundreds of corpses repeating the verse (Isaiah 26:19), ‘Let Your dead revive!’ and they were resurrected—I wouldn’t be surprised one bit.”
The second story:
One Rosh HaShanah, before the blowing of the shofar, Eliyahu HaNavi (the prophet Elijah) and a very old man came to the Rebbe, Reb Elimelekh of Lizhensk. They told him that there was a tremendous accusation against mankind. The entire world was in jeopardy of collapse through violent upheavals of every sort—may God save us! It was only in the merit of two people that the world was being spared.
When the Rebbe, Reb Elimelekh asked Eliyahu HaNavi, “Who is this elder?” Eliyahu HaNavi answered with a bit of surprise, “Why this is our patriarch, Avraham Avinu!” When the Rebbe, Reb Elimelekh asked who the two people were, Eliyahu HaNavi answered, “One of them is the Rebbe, Reb Shmelka of Nikolsburg.” “Who is the other?” he asked. Eliyahu responded, “There’s no need for you to know this also.”
After Rosh HaShanah, the Rebbe, Reb Elimelekh traveled to Nikolsburg to share the news with the Rebbe, Reb Shmelka. When the Rebbe, Reb Shmelka opened the door for his guest, he said to him, “Do you know? If it wasn’t for you and me the world would have collapsed!”
That’s how the Rebbe, Reb Elimelekh found out who the second one was.
May the merit of the tzaddikim protect us and all Yisrael. Amen.
© Copyright 2011 O. Bergman