Imagine What Might Have Been

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The Yahrzeit of Rabbi Meir Margolius (d. 1790) is commemorated on the 10th of Tammuz. The following meise / hasidic tale appeared in Sefer HaHasidut, Meah Tzadikim, Raphael, Yitzchak, 1961, Tel Aviv. (Freely translated by Gabbai Seth Fishman.)

The Baal Shem Tov and Rabbi Meir

Before he became a person of celebrity, the Baal Shem Tov (Besht) already knew and cherished Reb Meir.

On a certain occasion after the Besht was well-known, he said to him:

“Meirl, do you remember that Shabbos when you were a boy and had just begun to study chumash, how you gave the Torah teaching and your father’s house was filled with discussion about it? And do you remember what happened then?”

He answered:

“Yes. I remember well.

“My mother came suddenly into the house and pulled me out of the gathering right in the middle of the teaching!

“And my father said to her:

‘Why are you pulling the boy out in the middle of his teaching?’

“She answered him:

‘I see a certain man dressed with pelts standing there and staring intensively on the boy.’

“And it had made her anxious and fearful because his appearance was pleasant and he had some strange and powerful charismatic draw.”

The Besht told him:

“I was that man.

“Through my gazing on you at that occasion, I poured into you a great and mighty light.

“I know the infinite degree of goodness that might have been yours had your mother not interrupted.”

(The Yaakov-folk)

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