Setting The Charity Up

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The Yahrzeit of Rabbi Menachem Mendel Hager of Kosov zl (1768-1825) is commemorated on the 17th of Cheshvan. The following meise / hasidic tale appeared in Sefer HaHasidut, Meah Tzadikim, Raphael, Yitzchak, 1961, Tel Aviv. (Freely translated by Gabbai Seth Fishman.)

Setting The Charity Up

One Shabbos, the Seraph of Strelisk z’l, (who was the brother-in-law of the holy Rav of Kosov), was staying with him in Kosov and, as one would expect, streams of people assembled there.

Among those who came was a man who was a close associate of the people of the house of the Rav of Kosov. His name was Reb Moshe and he had been a rich philanthropist and benefactor, however, after having taken possession of a certain village which had been under the control of a certain nobleman, his fortune quickly changed, and now, unbeknownst to any person present,  he was feeling stressed and despondent because of his change of fortune. After the holy Shabbos had passed, this man revealed his change of status to his master in Kosov, for he felt himself in a bad way.

The Rav sent him to his brother-in-law from Strelisk, saying that he should pour out his soul also to him. He came to the Seraph and told him of everything in his heart. The Rav, the tzaddik of Strelisk answered him:

“I am with you in your sorrow. I will go to Mikveh on your behalf and, the merit of my going to Mikveh will afford you protection, perhaps even rescue your situation.”

The man came once again to the Rabbi of Kosov, who asked him what his brother-in-law had said and, he told him the details of it. The Rav said to him:

“Return again and tell him that in his trip to the Mikvah, you do not get any relief from your oppressors.”

This man went right away, coming to the Seraph a second time and telling him what he had been directed to say by the holy Rav of Kosov. The Seraph said:

“My child, I will also send your way the merit of the Mitzvah of Tefilin which I will put on today and which is an extra great merit for you.”

He returned once more to the house of the holy Rav of Kosov and told him. The Rav said to him:

“Go to my brother-in-law and say in my name that also by his having donned Tefillin, he won’t have taken away your creditor.”

Fulfilling the command of his master, he returned for a third time. The Seraph said to him:

“One more merit will I transfer to you, and it is the merit of all the prayer that I will pray today. This is an especially great merit.  From this moment, all these three merits will shield you and rescue you, bringing every good.”

When he returned to the house of the Rabbi of Kosov, the Rav said to him:

“Go and tell my brother-in-law, that in all this, not even a single debt will have been paid.”

When he heard these words, the Seraph took the “tozlik” / holy robe and went alone to his brother-in-law to hear directly from his mouth what he was asking and what he was requesting of him.  The holy Rav of Kosov answered him:

“I ask and I pray that the two of us journey and go among the men of our wholeness, our Hasidim, and ask them for some pledges and we will collect all the sum that is needed for the man in question to fulfill and grab onto the Mitzvah.”

And they did not go away from there until they had traveled to some of the places of their community; this one cried and that one wailed.

And when they had gathered the required sum, they turned it over to the aforementioned man. He paid all his creditors and also the lord of the village, (for the nobleman’s anger and his desire to have the man, and all his servants, thrown into jail had, by this time, subsided).

Afterwards, Hashem yitbarach helped him so that he, again, became greatly rich and he conducted himself with all the upright qualities as he had before.

(Foundation Stone).

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