After Reb Zusha Became Well-known

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The Yahrzeit of Reb Zusha of Hanipol (d. 1800) is commemorated on the 2nd of Shvat. The following meise / hasidic tale appeared in Sefer HaHasidut, Meah Tzadikim, Raphael, Yitzchak, 1961, Tel Aviv. (Freely translated by Gabbai Seth Fishman.)

After He Became Well-known

Before Rabbi Zussya of Hanipoli became well-known, he was involved in preparations to become a Rebbe, traveling incognito from town to town and, at some point during this period, he happened to come to Berdichev as well.

There, he found an inn which was in close proximity to one of the destitute sages.

As time went by, and his reputation was established in adulation, with thousands of Hasidim cleaving to him, he returned, once again, to Berdichev. This time he was met with great fanfare, riding in on a splendid carriage harnessed to three mighty horses. In the midst of the crowds of people who came to welcome him at the town’s border was a wealthy citizen of Berdichev.

The rich man approached Reb Zussya, inviting the tzaddik by asking him if he would be willing to stay as a guest at his home.

Rabbi Zusha said:

“Even before now, I came to Berdichev, and recently too.

“Why was it not your practice to invite me then?

“It seems to me that there is only one difference: Now, behold, there are these horses. For, in the earlier time, I would come by foot. But this time I have come in a splendid carriage.

“If so, I suggest you invite the horses to your house but, I am going to my inn near the sage.”

(Sweet things)

2 Responses to “After Reb Zusha Became Well-known”

  1. Monique~Miriam Says:

    Reb Zussya had a gift for living beyond time and space and once in a while had felt the words of a certain Anna, the daughter of an impoverished Warsaw painter, stir his soul. Knowing there are words that get transmitted for the elevation of souls, the tzaddik of Hanipoli decided to pay the destitute sage a friendly visit, for he had come to understand that even tho’ many rich merchants would not be able to relate to Anna’s words at all, he could trust that the destitute sage of Berdichev would appreciate hearing them. He knocked on the door of the humble hut before pushing it open. Then he entered, thanked the sage for his warm welcome during hard times of need, and shared Anna’s words

    “Walking to your place for a love feast
    I saw at a street corner
    an old beggar woman.

    I took her hand,
    kissed her delicate cheek,
    we talked, she was
    the same inside as I am,
    from the same kind.
    I sensed this instantly
    as a dog knows by scent
    another dog.

    I gave her money.
    I could not part from her.
    After all, one needs
    someone who is close.

    And then I no longer knew
    why I was walking to your place.”

    The Same Inside
    (a poem of Anna Swir (1900-84) translated by Czeslaw Milosz and Leonard Nathan)

  2. Gabbai Seth Fishman (Blog Editor) Says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this which refers to a destitute sage of Berdichev as in the story!

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