A Sweet Man

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The Yahrzeit of Rabbi Dovid Biederman of Lelov (1746-1814) is commemorated on the 7th of Shvat. The following meise / hasidic tale appeared in Sefer HaHasidut, Meah Tzadikim, Raphael, Yitzchak, 1961, Tel Aviv. (Freely translated by Gabbai Seth Fishman.)

The Merchant

The holy Rav, Rabbi Dovid used to be in the business of selling salt but, in the end, he gave it up.

When they asked him about this, he said:

“Here’s the way I am:

“When I see that the purchaser is going to another merchant to buy over there instead of here, I have a feeling of great joy that at another merchant there is a sale.

“However, when the situation is reversed, if another merchant will see that some purchaser is going to me to buy and not to him, he becomes soul-distressed.

“And I have no desire that there should be soul-distress in a Jewish person because of me.

“Therefore, I gave up the business.”

(Tower of David)

2 Responses to “A Sweet Man”

  1. Monique~Miriam Says:

    Anyone here remembers the stories of unholy witches activating demons and keeping Jewish families captive under their evil spells”? I don’t know the nature of the damage that got done at the time but one story tells that Reb Dovid later fell in the hands of the same evil one who was already keeping captive his family and mashing them up to be to his liking. According to some who know the full story, Reb Dovid’s giving up the salt business was partly due to his inability to conduct business with the demons that had surrounded him, while keeping his family in bondage. Reb Dovid had this kind and that kind of salt, but this did not help him much personally because he had been unable during the course of his travels to gather the minyan he needed to utter the communal prayers that might lead to the deliverance of his family. He wanted God to hear the viddui of one who had given his best salt to the broken circle and had lost the blessing of Yaakov.

    HaShem holds a special place in his compassionate heart for the defeated and therefore Reb Dovid’s giving up the business may have been a cause for celebration in earlier hassidic times, less so now. The literature seems to point out to the fact that Rev Dovid gave up the business when he discovered that the demons kept his family hostage; for then he had felt his heart sinking lower than his knees.

    I heard that this maize had been told by one of the daughters of Rebbe Eliezer in honor of the good son who had fallen prey to the great plague that was then devastating the land Let those who can still beware, beware, and let those who must travel, only travel in good company, the company of a minyan of elevated souls.

  2. Gabbai Seth Fishman (Blog Editor) Says:

    Wow! I wonder why Yitzchak Raphael, the editor of the book these stories come from, chose this one instead of a later one? Very different picture!

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