Weekly Chasidic Story #797 (s5773-26 / 22 Adar 5773)
The Coins That Cured
The man spoke to the Baal Shem Tov defiantly: “Here is my bundle of coins. Take it–let’s see what you can do for my paralyzed daughter.”
Connection: Weekly Reading–accurate accounting of the gold. silver, wool, etc used for constructing the Sanctuary.
There was once a man who had a paralyzed daughter. He brought the girl from doctor to doctor for consultations, but they could do nothing, and she remained in the same condition, unable to move any of her limbs. When the Baal Shem Tov began to acquire a name as a healer and a holy man who could do wonders through prayer, the man’s friends urged him to seek the Baal Shem Tov’s help for his daughter, But the father refused to make the trip, saying that he did not believe that such things happened in his day and age. “Miracles like that happened only long ago,” he insisted.
Time passed, and the man saw that there was no hope for his daughter. In the face of his friends’ persistent urging he decided he had nothing to lose by traveling to the Baal Shem Tov. Taking with him a small bundle of coins wrapped up in a kerchief, the man carried his helpless daughter to his wagon, set her down inside, and then set off in the direction of the holy tzadik.
Leaving his daughter in the wagon, the man entered the Baal Shem Tov’s chamber and began to speak: “They say that you are able to cure the ill. Here is the bundle of coins that I’ve brought. Take it — let’s see what you can do for my daughter, who is lying paralyzed in the back of my wagon outside.”
It was a hot summer day, and the Baal Shem Tov was sitting next to an open window. After hearing the man’s request, the Baal Shem Tov took the bundle of coins and tossed it right out the window. “Go in peace!” he said, “I have no need for your money.”
The small package landed outside. When it hit the ground it tore open, scattering its contents. When the paralyzed girl saw this she got to her feet, climbed out of the wagon and began to collect the coins that were rolling in all directions.
Her father came out and beheld the miraculous sight. “Get back in the wagon right now!” he yelled at his daughter. “Let’s get out of here!”
Pointing at the Baal Shem Tov’s house, he explained, “He is liable to come out and say that he is the one who cured you!”
[Source: Supplemented by Yerachmiel Tilles from “Extraordinary Chassidic Tales” Volume 1 by Rabbi Rafael Nachman Kahn, as translated from Hebrew and adapted by Basha Majerczyk.]
Rabbi Yisrael ben Eliezer (18 Elul 1698-6 Sivan 1760), the Baal Shem Tov [“master of the good Name”], a unique and seminal figure in Jewish history, revealed the Chassidic movement and his own identity as an exceptionally holy person, on his 36th birthday, 18 Elul 1734. He wrote no books, although many claim to contain his teachings. One available in English is the excellent annotated translation of Tzava’at Harivash, published by Kehot.
Connection: Weekly Reading-accurate accounting of the gold. silver, wool, etc used for constructing the Sanctuary.
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.