Weekly Chasidic Story ##781 (s5773-10 / 27 Mar-Cheshvan 5773)

The Shabbat Desecration Donation

Normally Rabbi Yisroel of Chortkov never looked at the money given to him. This time, however, the Rebbe took the money which the assimilated Jew had sent and put it in his breast pocket.

Connection: Weekly Reading (2)–Rashi’s comments on 26:12 & 26:13)


Even though great sums of money were deposited in Rabbi Yisroel of Chortkov’s hands by those who had been helped by him, the Rebbe was very careful never to use money received from non-kosher sources. This point is illustrated by the following story which was related by Reb Dovid Prever from Antwerp. Reb Dovid, who was a well known Chortkover chassid, lived in Berlin.

One Friday night, Reb Dovid’s door bell rang. An assimilated Jew who had heard that Reb Dovid intended to visit his Rebbe soon decided to ask for a blessing for himself. The assimilated Jew took out a note and some money and put them down on Reb Dovid’s table, asking please to hand them over to the Rebbe. Reb Dovid, aghast at this open display of Shabbat desecration, thought at first that he would not take the note and money with him. On second thought however, he decided that since he had been asked to carry out a mission he would do so, and whatever the Rebbe would do with the note and the “redemption money” was none of his business.

When Reb Dovid entered the Rebbe’s room he put the two sums of money down on the Rebbe’s table, his and the other Jew’s. He made no mention of how the money from the other Jew had come into his hands. Normally the Rebbe never looked at the money given to him. He would ignore it, leaving it for one of his attendants to clear away. This time, however, the Rebbe took the money which the assimilated Jew had sent, and put it in his breast pocket. Reb Dovid noticed this sudden change but said nothing. Reb Dovid’s money remained lying on the table as usual, awaiting the attendant.

After the conversation came to a close, the Rebbe told Reb Dovid that he had to go somewhere and that he wished Reb Dovid to accompany him. On the way, a priest came over to the Rebbe and asked him for a donation for an orphanage that had just opened. The Rebbe put his hand into his breast pocket, took out the money that Reb Dovid had been given on Shabbat, and handed it to the priest. Reb Dovid understood that the Rebbe had wanted to show him that he knew the money was not from a kosher source.

Source: Excerpted and adapted by Yerachmiel Tilles from //

Connection: Weekly Reading (2)–Rashi’s comments on 26:12 & 26:13)

Biographical note:
Rabbi Yisroel Friedman (10 Iyar 1854 – 13 Kislev 1934), the second Chortkover Rebbe, had chasidim numbering in the tens of thousands. These included quite a few famous Rebbes and Rabbonim. When World War I broke out he moved to Vienna, where he lived for the rest of his life. In the first international convention (‘Knessia Hagedola’) of Agudas Yisroel in 1923, he was elected to be the head, along with the Chafetz Chaim and the Gerer Rebbe, both of whom deferred to him. His books, Tiferes YisroelYismach Yisroel, and Ginzei Yisroel, are considered classic works.


Yerachmiel Tilles is co-founder and associate director of Ascent-of-Safed, and chief editor of this website (and of 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.