web analytics
May 28, 2015 / 10 Sivan, 5775
At a Glance
Kidz
Sponsored Post


Stories Of Pesach


Tales of the Gaonim-logo

Pesach is synonymous with aiding the poor and the needy. In the city of Kovno where the great Reb Yisroel Salanter was the chief rabbi, there was a special house set aside for the very poor; there they were housed and given food. Unfortunately, the house was a dilapidated one and in massive disrepair. Reb Yisroel knew its wretched condition, and he tried many times to get people to contribute to its upkeep. But too few people heeded his plea, and the condition of the building got worse with each passing day. One Seder night, Reb Yisroel put on his coat and left his warm and comfortable house. The hours flew by and he did not return. His wife was frantic, and she rushed out for help in trying to discover what had happened to him.

The people searched every house in the city, and only when they came to the poor people’s building did they find him. To their horror, he was lying flat on the floor amid the squalor and dirt, sound asleep. Next to him, the poor people also lay. They had no choice, for all the beds were broken. The people begged Reb Yisroel to leave the dilapidated building and to return home. However, he adamantly refused. “I will not go home,” he kept saying over and over again. Soon, word of the incident spread throughout the city and it created an uproar. Imagine! The rav of the city, the greatest of his generation, lying in such filth! And on the night of the Seder, too! “Please, Rebbe,” they begged, “please come home. This is no place for you to be.” But Reb Yisroel stood firm. “No, I will not go home until this house is repaired and made fit for people to live in. Are these people any worse than me?” His words made a deep impression on the community and within hours, enough money was pledged to guarantee that the building would be repaired and made into a decent place in which to live.

*************

Reb Levi Yitzhak of Berdichev was known as the great “defense attorney” for the Jewish people. Under any and all circumstances, he was able to find a good word to say about his people. One Bedikas Chometz night, after the chometz (leaven) had been searched for and burned, he took his shamash with him for a walk through the streets of the town. Meeting a peasant, he stopped him and asked quietly, “Tell me, would you perhaps have a little smuggled silk to sell? I need it very badly.”

“Indeed, I do,” replied the peasant. “I have as much as you want.”

The rav thanked him and continued on his way to the amazement of his dumb-founded shamash. Reb Levi Yitzhak continued on his way, and met a Jew trudging along the street.

Shalom Aleichem,” he said. “Tell me my friend; perhaps you can let me have some chometz?”

The Jew looked at him in horror and said: “How can you suspect me of such a thing? Do I dare have chometz on the eve of Pesach!”

Reb Levi Yitzhak paused and lifted his eyes to the heavens and said: “Behold, Master of the Universe, what a great people are our children, Israel. The Russian czar is a fierce and mighty ruler. He prohibits the smuggling of goods into his land and posts soldiers and police with deadly weapons to watch the frontiers day and night. If anyone is caught he is brought before a judge and immediately sentenced to a severe prison term. Nevertheless, all kinds of goods are smuggled in and the peasants defy him almost openly. You, on the other hand, wrote a few words in your Holy Torah, saying: ‘And no leavened bread shall be seen with thee, neither shall there be leaven found in all thy borders.’ There are no soldiers to guard against violating this law and no judges and prisons to punish the violators. Still, as soon as the hour of prohibition arrives, not a crumb is to be found in a Jewish home!”

*************

Rav Akiva Eiger was a man of extraordinary humility and sensitivity. Every Pesach he would invite the poor to come and eat at his table. One year, as they were dining, one of the poor guests accidentally knocked over a cup of wine, staining the tablecloth. The man turned red with shame and Rav Akiva saw this. Without hesitation, he also knocked over his cup.

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Stories Of Pesach

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Former FIFA vice president Jack Warner.
One of Indicted FIFA Officials Blamed ‘Zionism’ for 2011 Bribe Charge
Latest Kidz Stories
Gaonim-Midrash-logo-NEW

The great giant of his time, the Vilna Gaon, once said that the Shaagas Aryeh had the entire Talmud and its commentators at his fingertips and that he could relate the gist of all of them and their sources in one hour.

Gaonim-Midrash-logo-NEW

As for myself, I can only answer that the yetzer hara has persuaded me to take the position because of the honor.

Gaonim-Midrash-logo-NEW

“It must be that beggar,” he exclaimed. “He probably stole my cane.”

Gaonim-Midrash-logo-NEW

“If, however, he rules the other way – that something is not kosher when in reality it is kosher – and thus robs a poor man of his money, this is a far more serious thing.

“Come now, I insist. Tell me what errand of mercy you are on so that I too may have a share in the mitzvah.”

One of the most remarkable men in chassidic lore was Rav Yaakov Yitzchak Horowitz, known as the Chozeh of Lublin. Rav Yaakov Yitzchak was responsible for chassidus capturing the hearts of the vast majority of Polish Jewry. He was not only a great scholar but also possessed humility and modesty, traits that drew many other […]

The story of the Bnei Yisrael in the land of Mitzrayim is a tale that has become tragically repetitive in the history of our people. It is the story of a land which allows Jews to enter, devote their talents and energies to building that land and making it strong, only to have the inhabitants […]

The man has been found guilty and his soul is bitter because of it.

Now I know why Hashem punished us with the confiscation of our shul.

But the words would penetrate their hearts and each would say to himself: “But I, too, am doing this terrible thing.” In this way Reb Elimelech would inspire the people to teshuvah.

“I will tell you,” replied the rav. “I am very puzzled at why you suddenly desire to honor me and have me as your guest. What quality do you find in me that is new and worthy of merit?

“I wanted you to have a taste of the cold,” answered Rav Chaim. “This way, you too can feel the intense cold and realize the suffering of this man and his wife, who are now residing in a bitterly cold house.”

“Don’t worry,” said the king, “what could it be worth, two or three talents of gold? I’ll give you ten talents of gold, so you can forget about it.”

Shmuel HaKatan shook his head and said: “No, what happened here today is a sign not of great love. On the contrary, it is a bad omen.”

The arguments, however, could never appease his wife and one Thursday she came to him for money to purchase food for Shabbos.

He walked out of the room, making sure to leave the door ajar so that the two litigants could hear his voice.

More Articles from Rabbi Sholom Klass
Gaonim-Midrash-logo-NEW

The great giant of his time, the Vilna Gaon, once said that the Shaagas Aryeh had the entire Talmud and its commentators at his fingertips and that he could relate the gist of all of them and their sources in one hour.

Gaonim-Midrash-logo-NEW

As for myself, I can only answer that the yetzer hara has persuaded me to take the position because of the honor.

“It must be that beggar,” he exclaimed. “He probably stole my cane.”

“If, however, he rules the other way – that something is not kosher when in reality it is kosher – and thus robs a poor man of his money, this is a far more serious thing.

“Come now, I insist. Tell me what errand of mercy you are on so that I too may have a share in the mitzvah.”

One of the most remarkable men in chassidic lore was Rav Yaakov Yitzchak Horowitz, known as the Chozeh of Lublin. Rav Yaakov Yitzchak was responsible for chassidus capturing the hearts of the vast majority of Polish Jewry. He was not only a great scholar but also possessed humility and modesty, traits that drew many other […]

The story of the Bnei Yisrael in the land of Mitzrayim is a tale that has become tragically repetitive in the history of our people. It is the story of a land which allows Jews to enter, devote their talents and energies to building that land and making it strong, only to have the inhabitants […]

The man has been found guilty and his soul is bitter because of it.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/kidz/tales-of-the-gaonim/stories-of-pesach/2013/03/07/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: