A MEAL WITH TZADDIKIM
September 9, 2015
Beis Moshiach in #989, 29 Elul, Tzemach Tzedek, Tzivos Hashem, brit milah

Presented for 29 Elul, the birthday of the Tzemach Tzedek

By Nechama Bar

“What is the name of the wagon driver who brought you here?” asked the Rebbe.

R’ Asher, a Chassid, who came for a parting blessing from the Tzemach Tzedek, was taken aback by the question.  The wagon driver was a simple man.  But of course he answered the question.

“The next time you come,” said the Rebbe, “I want you to come with Yerachmiel the wagon driver.”

The Chassid was even more surprised, but as a Chassid, he knew that everything the Rebbe said had a reason.

R’ Asher was very rich and he often visited the Rebbe.  A few weeks later, R’ Asher decided to visit the Rebbe once again.  Perhaps the Rebbe’s surprising request is what spurred him on to travel again so soon.

R’ Asher remembered what the Rebbe told him and spoke to Yerachmiel.

“Yerachmiel, I would like you to take me to Lubavitch and stay there with me for a few weeks.  Of course, I will pay you handsomely.”

Yerachmiel was very happy with this offer and they set out.

When R’ Asher entered the Rebbe’s room, he informed the Rebbe that he had carried out his request and had traveled with Yerachmiel the wagon driver.

The Rebbe was happy to hear this and said, “Ask him to come in here.  I want to talk to him.”

The Chassid told the wagon driver to enter the Rebbe’s chamber, but he refused!

“I don’t know the Rebbe and I have nothing to say to him!”

The Chassid kept urging him.  The reason he had traveled with Yerachmiel was for the Rebbe! He frowned and said, “Then you can go home now and I will pay you accordingly.”

“No, no!” Yerachmiel was quick to say.  “Okay, I will go in to the Rebbe.  Just don’t reduce my wages.”

Yerachmiel went in to the Rebbe’s room.  The Rebbe spoke to him about various things and then made him an offer.  “I invite you to join me for a festive meal tomorrow.”

Yerachmiel was, as we said, a simple man, and he did not appreciate the magnitude of the offer.  He said, “No thanks, I’m not interested.”

R’ Asher heard about this and he repeated his previous threat, which helped, of course.

The Chassidim, who heard about the Rebbe’s invitation, were greatly perplexed.  Why did the Rebbe invite this foolish wagon driver? They decided to check whether Yerachmiel was a hidden tzaddik, but soon realized that he was just a very simple man who did not know how to learn at all.

They finally went directly to Yerachmiel and pressured him to tell them whether he had done anything special.  Yerachmiel tried to remember and then, yes! He remembered something.  This is what he said:

“I am a simple wagon driver, as you can see, and I often travel to distant villages where there are few Jews.  Sometimes, there are only two or three families.  These Jews have no minyan and no shul, but the hardest thing is when a baby boy is born.  There is no mohel to circumcise him.  It sometimes happens that several weeks pass until a mohel passes through and does the bris.

“It pained me to see the sorrow of these families and so I decided to learn mila.  This way, every time I go, if there is a baby boy who needs a bris, I can do it myself. That is what I did and I have circumcised many babies.

“A few months ago, I was driving through a forest when I suddenly heard someone crying.  I stopped my horses and entered a house to see what was happening.

“The sight was terrible.  It was a small, poor home.  A woman was sitting there, holding a baby and sobbing.  On a bed on the side of the room lay her husband who was very sick.

“‘What happened to you,’ I gently asked.

“She said, ‘I gave birth to a boy eight days ago.  Today should be his bris but there is no one to circumcise him.’

“I nearly jumped for joy as I told her that I am a mohel.  The woman’s face lit up and she handed me the baby.

“But there was one problem.  Who would be the sandak who would hold the baby during the bris? The father, who was lying in bed with his eyes closed and was barely breathing certainly couldn’t do it.

“I decided to go outside and look for a Jew, even though the chances of finding one in the forest were slim.

“I scoured the area but did not see anyone.  The hours were passing and the sun was starting to set.

“Suddenly, out of nowhere, I saw a very tall, thin man with a long white beard.  I told him what I needed but he didn’t listen to me and continued walking.  I grabbed him and pulled him but he was strong and began pushing me back.  I had tears in my eyes.  How could he refuse? He was the only man who could help! I pleaded with him until he finally agreed to come.

“Boruch Hashem, we managed to do the bris in the final moments of the day. 

“‘Now,’ said the stranger, ‘we need to have a seudas mitzva.’

“I figured the man was poor and starving, so I went to my wagon to bring some bread and cheese and I placed them on the rickety table.

“‘Why shouldn’t the father join in the simcha?’ asked the man.

“I gave him a quizzical look.  Didn’t he see that the father was in critical condition? But he went over to the father, took him out of bed, and it was amazing – the father stood up and sat with us like a healthy man, as though he hadn’t been sick at all just moments earlier.

“I wanted to ask the man who he was but he suddenly vanished.  It was like the earth swallowed him up,” concluded Yerachmiel.

***

The next day, the wagon driver joined the Tzemach Tzedek for a festive meal.  At its conclusion, one of the members of the household mustered the courage and asked the Rebbe why he had given so much honor to the wagon driver.  The Rebbe said, “This man had the merit of eating with Avrohom Avinu so I also wanted to eat with him.  That is why I invited him here.”

Article originally appeared on Beis Moshiach Magazine (http://beismoshiachmagazine.org/).
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