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Purim Strategy

by Yehudis Golshevsky

Reb Meir Tepliker, a close disciple of Reb Noson, had a student who lived in a remote village. Each year, Breslovers from the surrounding area would gather in Teplik at Reb Meir’s home for Purim day. Reb Meir would prepare a festive meal that started around noon. He would close his blinds and fill the room with candles so their intimate light would enhance the joy of the gathering. One Purim, during the height of the dancing, Reb Meir noticed this student standing on the side, suffering.

“What’s the matter?” he asked.

“You don’t have anything blocking your simchah, but how can I rejoice when my daughters, especially Tzivia, my eldest, are all unmarried and I can’t possibly afford their dowry?” the man responded.

Reb Meir exclaimed, “You can’t find a better strategy to improve your situation than feeling depressed on Purim?” He grabbed his student and gave him a big hug. “If you are suffering so much, you need to cry out to Hashem again and again, ‘My heart’s pains have grown so great; save me from my troubles!’”

Reb Meir drew his student into the circle of joyous, drunken dancers and the man shouted with his entire being: “My heart’s pains have grown so great; save me from my troubles!” Reb Meir pressed him: “If things are so bad, one cries out to Hashem like this again and again!” They danced this way, with the student crying out and praying and Reb Meir encouraging him to keep at it, for a long time.

A few days after Purim, another Breslover came to the man’s village for a few days and naturally lodged with his friend. On Shabbat he realized that Tzivia, his friend’s eldest daughter, was particularly modest and had a sterling character. He was so taken with her that the extent of her dowry was the furthest thing from his mind. “You know, I have a son around your daughter’s age,” he told his friend. “Maybe we should make a match between them?”

After getting the approval of Reb Meir Tepliker, that is exactly what happened. Everyone saw that by overcoming his sadness to rejoice on Purim and throwing himself into prayer, Reb Meir’s student had brought about his own salvation.

Based on Siach Sarfey Kodesh VI, 59

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