Reb Shlomo Pesach Stories
Stories on pesach
Reb Zvi Elimelekh of Dinov (a grand nephew of Reb Elimelech of Liszensk)'s custom was to visit someone's house on the first night of Passover in order to see how he was making the seder. So he stopped in front of one Yiddele's house and Iistened to the Yiddele read from the Haggadah. He was chanting, "In regards to four sons the Torah speaks: One who is wise, one who is wicked,. ." and every time he would read the word "one" he would shout out in a loud voice "O-N-E" as if he were saying the Sherna.
Afterward, Reb Zvi Elimelech recounted his experience, saying that this little Yiddele was making such a holy prayer from the "four sons" - by the way he was saying "O- N - E-" that Reb Zvi realized that even the wicked son knew the Oneness of haShem.
I want to tell you a gevalt story which my brother told me an Chanuka. On the third day of Chanuka them was a bris (commission) in Boro Park. The holy Bobover Rebbe was the sandek, and he told this story at the bris. There was a woman in Brooklyn who was married fifteen years, and she was not blessed with children. She want from rebbe to rebbe, from tzaddik to tzaddik, from one to the other, but still she had no child. She did not know what to do with herself. Since she had a lot of time, she became a volunteer in a hospital, and there she discovered a woman who was all alone, who had nobody in the world. For two years she took care of her. After two years the woman left this world and she, the woman who didn't have children, was there when she died. The dying woman said to her: "There is no way for me to thank you in this lifetime, for what you did for me. But, I promise you, the moment I go up to heaven, and stand before the Ribbono Shel Olam (G-d), I swear to you I will send you a baby." The Bobover rebbe said: "The baby that was just circumcised is this baby. He is a gift from that woman." Unbelievable.
Them are a gevalt story about Rabbi Levi of Berditchev. When his son, Reb Yisrael, was on his way to become one of the biggest Rebbes, when he was seventeen, he left this world. And Rabbi Levi Yitzchak of Berditzhev was walling behind him, and he was dancing. We have no idea of this kind of worship of G-d. The Hasidim asked him "How can you dance?" He answered: "The Ribbono Shel Olam sent to my house a holy soul. And I am giving it back as holy as I received it." Awesome▼
The Redomske Rebbe (Reb Shlomo, Redomske), one of the greatest Rebbes in the world before World War II, in Redomsk, a city in Poland near the border of Germany. After the First World War, Poland was so poor that a lot of them moved to Germany, to Berlin. And he was afraid that a lot of them would stop keeping Shabbos. So he said to them, go to Germany under one condition, that I become a partner in 10% of your business. I promise you you'll get rich. The most unbelievable thing happened, all those people who were his partners become multi-multi-millionaires.
It sounds like a joke. Do you know that the Redomske Rebbe owned half of Berlin in apartment houses? Do you know what he did with his money? He had a Yeshiva of 30,000 children. And he, with his own money, with the money he made from those apartment houses, supported 30,000 kids. And they were mamash, his children, he supported them, he took care of them..
.And the saddest thing is, that from all those 30,000 children, there are only five left. But I don't want to tell you the sad thing, I just want you to know that when he and his son came to Auschwitz, they changed the whole camp, because they were so filled with life, and joy. When people came home at night they were beaten, and wounded, and sad and they (the Rebbe and his son) would say,'Listen, this is not the way, you're helping them, right?
They want you to be sad, they want you to be broken. So you're doing everything they want you to do. Don't you have a little character? Let’s do what they don't want us to do.
They least thing is, they don’t want us to be happy, right?' All night long, they were teaching and saying Torahs, and the next day, when a Nazi beat up a Jew, they[the other prisoners] would say to him, 'You remember what the Rebbe said last night'. It would give them strength. And sad enough, for four weeks, while they were there, I heard also from people who were there, it's unbelievable, especially the Shabbos,it was like paradise.
But when the Germans saw that they had taken over the camp with joy, they took the Rebbe out, and his son, and shot them.
The following story was told by Shlomo Carlebach, who heard it first hand from the surviving chossid in the story. It occurred in the year 5703 (57years ago).In the last year of the Warsaw Ghetto, one of the rebbes was arrested a few days before Pesach with a young chossid who was seventeen years old.
They were supposed to be shot the second day of Pesach.In the meantime, the Nazis put them in prison, with thieves, prostitutes, all kinds of criminals. Meanwhile ,it's Seder night, the Rebbe is sitting in the prison and says to his young chossid, "We have no wine, no matzo, nothing. But, let us say the, Haggadah ."The chossid says, "Rebbe, I'm so broken, I don't even know if I believe in G-d at this moment. I'm completely out of it. “The Rebbe says, "Just sit next to me, and we are going to say the Haggadah."
The Rebbe begins to say the Haggadah. He says to the chosid, "Now, please, ask me MaNishtana (the four questions)".The chassid says, "Rebbe, I don't believe in it anymore. I'm so broken. My parents are killed, my whole family is killed, I'm in prison. It's a joke to be celebrating Pesach here in prison."The Rebbe begs him, "Please, please ask me Ma Nishtana." So, he asks him Ma Nishtana. The Rebbe begins, "Avadim HayinuWe were slaves...".Suddenly, a Polish thief opens his mouth and starts yelling, “You dirty, filthy Jews. Keep your filthy mouths shut. You are disturbing my peace.” He is yelling and cursing them.
A Nazi walks in with a gun, point sit at the Rebbe, and says, "If you disturb the peace in prison one more time, I won't wait until the second day. I'll shoot you right now. "He says to the thief, "Thank you so much. Thank you so much for keeping an eye on these dirty Jews. I'm really proud of you. If you have any trouble again, just call me." The Nazi walks out.
The rebbe, who spoke Polish fluently, said to the thief, "Aren’t you ashamed of yourself? The Nazi took away your country. They treat you like a dog. You are going to be on their side against me? I am the same like you. I'm on your side. You go with the Nazis? Don't you have a little bit of character?” And, the thief began crying. He said, "Holy rabbi, I'm so envious of you, that you are Jewish. You Jews, you have so much character, so much inner strength. Nobody can knock you down. But, I am Polish. I have no inner strength, no pride, nothing. I am like a dog."
He starts crying and saying, "I wish I could be Jewish .
I wish I could be Jewish. Then I would have a little pride. Rebbe, please forgive me that I called the Nazi. I beg you, forgive me. But, just tell me, what are you doing there?” The Rebbe says, "Tonight is the night when we came out of Egypt, and we are celebrating.” The Polish thief said, "I can't believe it. These Jews are so holy. They are sitting in prison, they have nothing, and yet, they are celebrating freedom? Rebbe, could you please say the Haggadah in Polish? I want to know the whole story.
"The Rebbe starts saying, "avadim hayinu were slaves in Polish. And, the thief is next to the Rebbe, and every few minutes he cries, "Oh, I wish I could be Jewish.” And, the Rebbe says the whole Haggadah in Polish. They have no matza, they have no afikomon, they have nothing to bench on (say grace after meals). They get up to "Eliyahu HaNavi (Elijah the Prophet)."The Rebbe explains to the Polish thief that you are supposed to open the door and Eliyahu HaNavi comes in. The Rebbe says to his Chassid, "Are you ready for Eliyahu HaNavi? "He answers, "Rebbe, please, leave me out. I'm not ready.” The Rebbe says to the Polish thief, "Are you ready for Eliyahu HaNavi?"The non-Jewish thief says, "Rebbe, wherever you go, I go.” The Rebbe-stands up and begins saying, "Shfoch chamatcha al hogoyim--Spill out your wrath upon the nations who don't know You.” At that moment, the Nazi walks in and shoots the Rebbe and the thief. Their neshamot (souls)went to heaven together.
I want to tell you a good story that I heard on the first day of Succos. Someone told me he heard it from his father, a Hasid, and just forgive me, because I have to throw a lot of names at you, but just imagine for a moment that you know them... Again, this is a story of the highest and the deepest, the Heileger Reb Mordechai, Reb Motelle Neshcheezer (whose Yahrzeit is tonight).
The Holy Ropshitzer, Reb Naftali, was one of his followers. Okay, at the time, Reb Naftali was maybe seventeen years old and he came to Neshcheez for Purim, and after Purim, the Holy Neshcheezer tells him, "Do me one favour. Please don’t come here for Pesach." Now Reb Naftali really wants to be with his Rebbe for Pesach. So he thinks to himself, "Hmm. Pesach is in four weeks time. Okay, I'll talk my way back into getting invited to Neshcheez for Pesach."So it's a few days before Pesach. So Reb Naftali goes to the kitchen and helps the Rebbetsn. You know Pesach is coming, it's the Holy Nescheezer, there are thousands of Hasidim and the Rebbetsn needs help so badly.
So after he helps her for a few days, Reb Naftali asks the Rebbetsn, you know, just do me one small favour, just ask your holy husband, my Rebbe, to let me stay." Okay, he talked her into it, so the Rebbetsn asks the Neshcheezer, "I need Naftali so badly, and he helps me so much in the kitchen." So the Neshcheezer tells his Rebbetsn, "Okay, he can stay. But I'm telling you now, he will make me a lot of trouble.” So if you know a little about what we do the morning before Pesach,say about ten in the morning or so, you burn whatever is left over from the bread.
But it's not only burning a crumb of bread. It is mamash wiping out all the evil from the world. You are mamash cleaning yourself in the deepest way. Okay, after this is over, Reb Naftali goes to the beis medresh (the synagogue), because now the cleaning is all finished and this is a good time to learn just a little bit..
.Now let me interrupt the story for a minute. Imagine you sit in a room that smells bad. Then you don't even know after a while that it smells bad. Sadly, sadly enough, we are so accustomed to the spiritually evil smell of this world, that we don't even know anymore what good smelling is. But the Holy Ropshitzer knew what a good smell and a bad smell is. So suddenly the door to the Beis Medresh flies open, and nebekh, a schlepper walks in and oy, gevalt, does he smell bad! You could see that there is not a sin he has not committed yet-- and -- guess what-- he is ready for more! So the schlepper comes in and asks Reb Naftali, "May I see the Rebbe?"
Now the Heileger Ropshitzer thinks,"Gevalt oy! Just two minutes ago my holy master, the Neshcheezer burned all the evil. He mamash cleansed himself and the entire world.There is absolutely no evil left! And this disgusting low filthy schlepper is destroying my whole Yom Tov! I won't allow it!" So he says to the shlepper, "Is that all you need to do, see my Rebbe? Why don't you go home first, cleanse yourself a bit, wipe out your chumetz and do just a little teshuva first before you have the chutzpa, the audacity to disturb my holy Rebbe. Araus! Out! Chutzpa!"So the shlepper walks out of the Beis Medresh and Reb Naftali entirely forgets about it. A minute later, the Nascheezer comes running into the Beis Medrash and asks Reb Naftali, "Was anyone just here?" He answers him, "No, at least nobody I know of."
So the Nashcheezer tells him, "I'm not asking you if it was anyone you know, I'm not asking whether someone who looked holy to you was here. I am asking you if any one was just here?" So Reb Naftali answers him, "Now that you mention it, yes, there was this disgusting shlepper... disgusting..." The Neshcheezer is throwing up his hands! "Gevalt! What did you say to him?" So he answers, "What do you think? I threw him out, of course." So the Nashcheezer is about to have a heart attack. So he grabs the Holy Ropshitzer by the neck and screams, "If you don’t bring him back right away, I don't want to see you here ever again."Mamash, the Ropshitzer is besides himself. He runs around all over the city.
Finally he finds the shlepper in a bar somewhere, already he’s drunk like a dog, without saying anything too disrespectful about dogs... Now you know how disrespectful the Ropshitzer was to the shlepper before. But this time, the Ropshitzer treats the shlepper as if he were the holiest Rebbe in the world. So he says to him, "Please, I am begging you! Please come back with me to the Neshcheezer, because if you don't come back, my holy Rebbe will never speak to me again!” But it's not so easy.
The shlepper has had enough of the Ropshitzer. He only wants to be left in peace, let alone go back with him. So the Ropshitzer physically grabs him and literally carries the shlepper back with him to the Nashcheezer. And the Holy Nashcheezer is so overjoyed to see him! He hugs and kisses the shlepper, telling him, "Where have you been? I am so overjoyed to see you... I am so overjoyed to see you!" So the Nashcheezer dismisses the Ropshitzer and takes the shlepper into his humble abode. The Nashcheezer gives the shlepper a bath and new garments. For Yom Tov, he gives him a long "bekeshe" and"shtreimel". And the shlepper is shining mamash from one corner of this world to the other.So after Pesach, the Nashcheezer explains it to the Rophsitzer.
"I want you to know that this shlepper was not always a poor shlepper. He was my greatest, utmost holiest of the holy, deepest of the deep, student. His head was mamash in heaven, maybe, maybe, his feet touched the ground. But the saddest thing happened. You know he is just a human being. Once he made a mistake. But since he knew that I knew about it, even without his telling me or my telling him, he left and was ashamed to ever come back. And since he was so ashamed to come back, it was just downhill, downhill, downhill... I want you to know that on Purim, I mamash davened so strong to HaShem,"Please bring him back!" So I saw in prophecy that he would come this Eruv Pesach. And I also saw prophetically, that you would be here in the Beis Medresh when he came back and would throw him out. So I wanted you out of the picture.
That's why I told you not to come. Eruv Pesach, he had decided to give it one more chance. He thought, "If my holy Rebbe the Nashcheezer takes me back without saying anything, then I shall stay. But if his Hasidim throw me out, then I'll never come back again." So now you know the story. You know this story is so gevalt, so awesome. You never know ,someone you meet, and maybe for that person it's the last try...
HOW THE TAZ MARRIED THE DAUGHTER OF THE BACH
It's like a little personal story, because, you know, the two nearly, maybe the two greatest commentators on the Shulchan Aruch were the Holy Taz and the Holy Bach. The Bach, whose name was Joel Sirkis, was the Chief Rabbi of Krakow and the Taz was the Chief Rabbi of Lemberg. The Taz was the son-in-law of the Bach. It so happens that we are descended on my father's side from those two.
So it's very special. The story, which I just heard recently, is how the Holy Taz became the son-in-law of the Bach. Okay, it's a crazy story, so just bear with me. The Bach -- you know it's very, very, strange.
You know, sometimes, if you’re mediocre, you always find your place, very easily. But, if you’re special, you know, you may not find it. Ever. So the Holy Bach was mamash so, so, deep. Wherever he went, he always got thrown out. A rabbi here, a rabbi there. Finally, he was again in another city, and again he got thrown out. I mean, they asked him to leave.
You know, this was stupid! Anyway, so you know, according to Kabbalistic tradition, on Friday you go to the mikve -- pure rainwater -- or a lake. And after that you have to sleep a little in order to receive your super soul before Shabbos. Now the Bach was to be thrown out of the city on Monday. Can you imagine --he had a lot of children, how downhearted he was. What was he to do now? But he went to sleep before Shabbos. A few minutes before Shabbos there was a knock on the door, and a little Russian peasant says,
"I come from Federal Express with a letter for you". So the Bach's little girl ,Rivkele, had answered the door and she didn't know whether or not to wake up her father or not for the letter. But then she thought, maybe it's important. I'll wake him up. So Rivkele woke up the Bach and gave him the letter. And the letter said, "We appoint you Chief Rabbi of the City of Krakow." So you know, the Bach is so happy. So he says to his daughter, "Thank you so much for waking me up. I was so worried, even during my sleep. So you gave my soul back to me. For that I bless you that you should be privileged to marry someone who is at least at my level of learning.” Okay, at the time Rivkele was four, five, six, whatever.
I don’t know. In the meantime you know she isn't getting any younger. She's supposed to marry someone. So she's looking for the best but obviously it's not the best, right? Now she's twenty years old. And you know friends, those days weren’t like today. For a girl to be twenty and not married, it was like being at least one hundred thirty-nine nowadays and not yet married. Even worse,
One hundred eighty-nine. Nebekh. Can you imagine? She's already twenty years old and not married? I mean, that's the end. Finally, the Bach's wife says, "You know what's wrong -- it's all because of your stupid blessing. You gave her a blessing to marry someone as great as you. There just isn't anyone as great as you." That simple. "Okay," she said, "Either you take off your blessing, or you think of something else.” So the Bach is so broken. He had blessed her with all his heart. So, crazy, open your hearts for this, the Bach makes a vow. "I don't care anymore. I'm going to my Beis Medresh now. The first young man I see who isn't already married will marry my daughter." Crazy, right? Okay, let's stop here. Now in Lemberg lived a young man, Dovidl (haLevi). Later he became known as the Taz. You know, "Bach", is short for “Beis Chadash” or "new house".