Nice Mitzvah

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The Yahrzeit of Reb Mordechai of Neshchiz (1742-1800) is commemorated on the 8th of Nissan. The following meise / hasidic tale appeared in Sefer HaHasidut, Meah Tzadikim, Raphael, Yitzchak, 1961, Tel Aviv. (Freely translated by Gabbai Seth Fishman.)

A Horse For An Etrog

Rabbi Mordechai of Neshchiz was poor and destitute and, his life was one of struggle.

For an entire year he would gather his pennies so that he might be able to afford to buy himself an Etrog for Sukkot.

One year, on the eve of Sukkot, when he was going to buy the Etrog and held a decent sum of savings in his hand, he arrived at the store and saw a Jew who sat and was crying. Approaching the man, he asked:

“My brother, my friend, why are you crying?”

The poor man groaned:

“Woe is me!  A great misfortune has come upon me!

“I am a water drawer. I transport water to the town and I am paid with trouble.

“And even now, a disaster has come my way: My horse fell and died this eve of Sukkot.

“Now there’s no choice but to make my living through hand-outs.”

Rabbi Mordechai took out the bundle of cash from his pocket, gave it to the water drawer and said to him:

“Go and buy a horse for yourself.”

Rabbi Mordechai returned to his town and to his home. Upon entering his house he said in joy:

“Blessed is God’s presence in the World, blessed is He. He called upon me to perform a nice Mitzvah for this Sukkot.

“All the Jews will be making a blessing over an Etrog and I will make a blessing over a horse…”

(Praise of our teacher the Reb Mordechai)

One Response to “Nice Mitzvah”

  1. M'nikkah Says:

    Found myself wondering why i feel inclined to love this story and i found one answer;
    most likely because i like horses and also the torah of the horse and the unicorn.
    hint: the unicorn represents the etrog and the tip of the etrog the horn of the unicorn.

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