The Maggid Mediates

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The Yahrzeit of Rabbi Pinchas HaLevi Horowitz (1731-1805) is commemorated on the 2nd 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 Maggid of Mezritch Decides Between the Brothers

The holy Rav, Rabbi Shmelke and his brother, the Rav, our teacher Pinchas, (their souls in supernal concealment), were extended offers together to two positions, the Rabbinic chair position for the holy congregation of Frankfurt-on-the-Main and the same for the holy congregation of Nikolsburg.

The holy congregation of Frankfurt-on-the-Main was a large community and more prestigious than the holy congregation of Nikolsburg, and since the people of the communities couldn’t decide between the two brothers as to which should take the Rabbinic chair of Frankfurt-on-the-Main and which should take the position for the holy congregation of Nikolsburg, the leaders of the two communities said that the two brothers should decide between themselves.

Although the Rav, our teacher Shmelke z’l was older than his brother, nonetheless, being a man of great humility, he said that his brother the Rav Reb Pinchas was the one particularly suited for the Rabbinate of the holy community of Frankfurt-on-the-Main but, at the same time, his brother, Reb Pinchas, felt the opposite, that the greater position should go to his brother who was older than he.

They both agreed that, since they would soon take their leaves of the great Rabbeinu, the Maggid of Mezritch of the holy community of Mezritch, they should ask his opinion, and as his words decreed, so would they do.

Furthermore they were going to ask him about a section of the Zohar that neither could make sense of.

As they were going to the Rav, the brothers began to argue with one another regarding who should take the better position, for each one said of his brother that he is the greater of the two. And they each believed that as soon as they arrived, the Rav, the Maggid would say it like this:

“The Rav of the holy congregation of Nikolsburg should take the better position because he is the greater of the brothers.”

But when they entered inside, the Rav did not mention this. Instead, he told them a story of one nobleman and of his customary way with his servants and his palace.

As he finished the story he commanded them that they should go in peace (they did not ask him about the section of the Zohar.)

But when they came to their lodgings, they had resolved the matter.

For, certainly, he had not told them the story for no reason. And the veil had been lifted from their eyes for it was an analogy and a metaphor and through it, they could also now understand the section of the Zohar through the tale’s pertinence.

And so they reached a decision.

[NOTE: The older brother went to Nikolsburg and Reb Pinchas went to Frankfurt-am-Main].

(In Praise of the Besht.)

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