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September 04, 1970 - Image 19

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1970-09-04

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Hasidic Tales and Teachings

Moshe Leib Sassover (died 1807)
sat at the bedside of all the sick
boys of his city, nursing and tend-
ing them. Once he said: "He who
cannot suck the matter from the
boils of a child stricken with the
plague has not yet gone halfway
up the height of love for his fellow-
* • •
Said the Sassover: Why is it
written (Psalms 29:11): "The Lord
will grant strength unto His peo-
ple; the Lord will bless His people
with peace"? Because it is cus-
tomary for sick people to be quar-
relsome and irritable. Hence, we
implore the Lord to give us health
and bodily strength so that we
may be blessed with peace and
tranquility of spirit.
Sayings of Rabbi Moshe Leib
Whether evil or good events be-
tide, let it be the same to you,
since you are a stranger and a
sojourner on this earth.
A sigh breaks the body of a
Wherefore shouldst thou have
anxiety over a world that is not
If peace is absent, everything
else is lacking.
Be patient in the enduring of
insults, for what art thou and
what is thy life?
Be deliberate and thou wilt have
no regrets.
Do not reprove another unless
thine own actions are correct.
A man may be an upright serv-
ant of the Lord until temptation
comes to him. It is only the one
who has withstood temptation who
is truly righteous.
The main superiority of man over
animals is in his power of speech.
But if we speak vanity and folly,
we are no better than animals.
• • •
The wife of one of the Berdit-
chever's enemies met him one day
on the street and poured over his
head a pail of water. He ran to the
synagogue and prayed: "0 Lord,
do not punish that woman. She
must have done this by the order
of her husband, and she is there-
fore to be commended as an obedi-
ent wife."
• • *
After Yom Kippur the Berdit-
chever (died 1809) called over a
tailor and asked him to relate his
argument with God on the holy
The tailor said: "I declared to
God: You wish me to repent of my
sins, but I have committed only
minor offenses. I may have kept
leftover cloth, or I may have eaten
in a non-Jewish home, where I
worked, without washing my
hands. But Thou, 0 Lord, hast
committed grievous sins: Thou
hast taken away babies from their
mothers, and mothers from their
babies. So let us be quits. If Thou
wilt forgive me, I shall forgive
Said the Berditchever: "Why
did you let God off so easily? You
might have forced Him to forgive
all of Israel."
• • •
The Berditchever insisted upon
serving his guests himself. He
would bring them food and prepare
their beds for them. When asked
why he did not leave these duties
to his servant, he responded: "Hos-
pitality is an excellent deed when
performed without payment. The
servant would do it for pay, and
the intrinsic kindness of the deed
would be lost."
• • •
A teamster sought the Berdit-
chever's advice as to whether he
should give up his occupation be-
cause it interfered with regular at-
tendance at the synagogue.
"Do you carry poor travelers
free of charge?" asked the Rabbi.
"Yes," answered the teamster.
"Then you serve the Lord in
your occupation just as faithfully
as you would by frequenting the
He also said: "A true Hasid is
very rare. Two Hasidim are not
likely to be found in one town, and
one Hasid is not enough. Every
town must therefore contain a
Hasid and a half, and each should

consider himself as the half, and
the other as a whole."
• • •
Said the Lubliner: "The Talmud
tells us that 'poverty becomes Is-
rael as a red ribbon becomes a
white horse.' When the horse is
for sale, the owner decorates him
to please the eye of the purchaser.
Likewise when Jews look poor, it
pleases the non-Jews, and they do
not do us harm out of envy."
This Zadik also said: "Gold
and silver become purified through
fire. If you feel no sense of im-
provement after your prayer, you
are either made of base metal, or
your prayer lacked heat."
• • •
The Lubliner (died 1815) said:
"I have greater love for the wicked
man who knows that he is wieked
than for the righteous man who
knows that he is righteous. The
first one is truthful, and the Lord
loves truth. The second one falsi-
fies, since no human being is ex-
empt from sin, and the Lord hates
• • •
When Rabbi Schmelke came to
Nikolsburg to assume his duties
as Zadik, he locked himself in a
room and began pacing back and
forth. One of the welcoming party
overheard him repeating again and
again the many forms of greeting
he anticipated. Later the man con-
fessed that he had overheard Rabbi
Schmelke, and begged the Rabbi
to explain his odd action.
Rabbi Schmelke said: "I dislike
intensely honors which tend to
self-pride; therefore I rehearsed
to myself all the words of wel-
come. No one appreciates self-
praise, and after becoming accus-
tomed to these words of acclaim
by frequent repetition, I no longer
felt pride in hearing these very
phrases uttered by the committee
of welcome."


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Sayings of the Premislaner
Rabbi Aaron Leib Premislaner
(died 1852) went to pay a visit to a
neighboring Zadik. This became
known and some Hasidim went out
on the highway to meet him. When
he noticed them from afar he
speedily changed clothes with his
driver, in order to avoid the un-
desired honor. His noble mien,
however, betrayed him to the other
Zadik, who was one of the wel-
coming party. Therefore, while the
others shook hands with the dis-
guised driver, this Zadik gave
greetings to the real rabbi. When
asked how he had detected the de-
ception, he replied with a laugh,
"One crook cannot fool another."
• •
The Premislaner told the follow-
ing tale: "I went up to Heaven in
a dream and stood at the Gates
of Paradise in order to observe
the procedure of the Heavenly Tri-
bunal. A learned rabbi approached
and wished to enter. 'Day and
night,' he said, 'I studied the Holy
Torah. 'Wait,' said the Angel 'We
will investigate whether your study
was for its own sake or whether
it was a matter of profession, or
for the sake of honors.'
"Then a tavern-keeper drew
near. 'I kept an open door,' said
he, 'and fed without charge every
poor man who came to my inn.'
The Heavenly Portals were opened
to him without further investiga-
"I then said to myself: If charity
opens the Gates of Paradise,
whether it be practiced for its own
sake or for honors, I vow to be-
come a collector of funds for
• • •
A storekeeper complained to the
Premislaner that another man had
opened a store near him and was
taking away his livelihood. The
Rabbi answered: "Did you ever
notice that when a horse is led to
a pool of water to drink, he stamps
his hoof in the water?"
"Yes," said the man.
"The reason is as follows," con-
tinued the Rabbi. "When the horse
lowers his head to drink, he sees
his shadow. He imagines that an-
other horse is also drinking, and
fearing there will not be sufficient
water for both, he tries to chase
away the other horse. In reality,
he is afraid of his shadow, and
there is plenty of water for many
horses. You, likewise, are afraid of
an imaginary foe. God's abundance
flows like a river, and there is
enough for all."
• • •
Said the Ropshitzer (died 1854):
"To obtain a livelihood from a
man is oftentimes like obtaining
honey from a bee; it is accom-
panied by a sting."
* • •
The Koretzer was accustomed to
say: "I am constantly in fear lest
I become too wise to remain
• • •
Said the Koretzer: "The Talmud
declares that wine taken in moder-
ation unfolds the brain of a man.
He who is a total abstainer is
rarely possessed of wisdom."
The Koretzer also said: "It is
best to eat sparingly. Thereby a
man tends to lengthen his life.
We find among animals and rep-
tiles that those which eat the least
live the longest."
• • •
Said the Koretzer: "If a man
honors you, he considers himself
your inferior at the moment, and
he thereby becomes your superior.
The more he honors you, the more
he grows at your expense. How
then can you feel pride at being
showered with honors?"
• • •
Said the Koretzer: "Man was cre-
ated last for the following reason:
if he is deserving, he shall find all
nature at his service; if he is un-
deserving, he shall find all nature
arrayed against him."
• • •
Said the Koretzer: "Satan is in-
consistent. He persuades a man
not to go to synagogue on a cold
morning; yet when the man does
go, he follows him into it."

Friday, September 4, 1970-19



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Temple Kol Arai

(formerly The New Temple)

Located in West Bloomfield Township

Welcomes inquiries about its total program from those wishing to affiliate
with a liberal Reform Synagogue in the New Year 5731.


8:30 P.M. at the Birmingham Unitarian Church, 651 North Woodward,
Bloomfield Hills. Office — 5085 Walnut Lake Road, Walled Lake. Phone

Religious School to be conducted at West Bloomfield High School. Opening
session, September 20, Midweek Hebrew opening session, October 7.

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