Weekly Chasidic Story #802 (s5773-30 / 23 Nissan 5773)
The Beard to Heaven
Rabbi Shmuel Shneersohn of Lubavitch once described his visit to Prague, and the ancient book of records of wondrous events he saw there.
Connection: Seasonal–131st anniversary of birthday of the Rebbe Maharash
The Rebbe Maharash once described his visit to Prague, and the shul he saw that Jewish immigrants from Spain had built. There was a table there, and on the table was an ancient book of records of wondrous events. This is one of them:
Long ago in Prague there were twelve “parnassei ha-chodesh,” philanthropists who each took responsibility to look after one month’s worth of communal needs. Appointed over them was a fabulously wealthy and honored leader in the community. He was a physician by profession, who had reached old age but never had children.
The physician became grievously ill and, feeling his end approaching, sent his coach and driver to the chief rabbi of Prague with a request to come and say the vidui-confession with him in his final moments. To his astonishment the coach returned empty.
The coachman quickly explained. He reported that the rabbi had told him to deliver the following message: “Your days are not yet over, and you will very soon recover from your illness.”
In a short time the physician completely recuperated, and the first thing he did, understandably, was travel to the rabbi.
“The truth of the matter is,” he told the rabbi, “I at first felt slighted when you overlooked my suffering. But now that your words have been fulfilled, I no longer bear any bad feelings. One thing, though, you must tell me: How did you know that I would rise from my sickbed, rather than go the way of all flesh?”
Replied the rabbi: “I had a dream. I was sitting at a table in Heaven along with many others with long beards. But you were unable to gain admittance there since you have no beard (according to the leniency of removing it with chemicals). Yet, since without doubt your place is in a high place in Heaven, it was obvious to me that pending your beard’s growth, no action could be taken.”
And so it was. Not long afterwards the physician let his beard grow, and soon left the world for his eternal rest.
Source: Adapted by Yerachmiel Tilles from the translation by Tuvia Natkin for Kfar Chabad Magazine-English (based on Migdal Oz).
Connection: Seasonal-131st anniversary of birthday of the Rebbe Maharash.
Rabbi Shmuel Schneersohn (2 Iyar 1834-13 Tishrei 1882), the fourth Lubavitch Rebbe, known as “the Rebbe Maharash,” was the seventh and youngest son of his predecessor, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneersohn, “the Tsemach Tsedek”.
Yerachmiel Tilles is co-founder and associate director of Ascent-of-Safed, and chief editor of this website (and of KabbalaOnline.org). He has hundreds of published stories to his credit, and many have been translated into other languages. He tells them live at Ascent nearly every Saturday night.