web analytics
September 3, 2014 / 8 Elul, 5774
At a Glance
Kidz
Sponsored Post
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat (L) visits the JewishPress.com booth at The Event. And the Winners of the JewishPress.com Raffle Are…

Congratulations to all the winners of the JewishPress.com raffle at The Event



The Chassidim Of Germany

Tales of the Gaonim-logo

In the late 18th and early 19th centuries the struggle between chassidim and their opponents, the misnagdim, reached its peak. In many cases, chassidim were barred from areas where the misnagdim were the majority. Certainly it was unheard of for a city to choose a chassidic adherent as its rav.

Yet, Germany – one of the heartlands of opposition to chassidim – did choose two great chassidim to be rabbanim in two cities.

The city of Frankfurt chose Rav Pinchas Halevi Horowitz while his brother, Rav Shmuel Shmelke, was appointed spiritual leader of Nicklesburg. Both brothers were students of the famous Maggid of Mezhirech, who was the spiritual heir of the founder of chassidus, the Baal Shem Tov.

How did this unusual situation come about? It’s a story of judgement and forgiveness.

The Rothschilds

The father of Reb Meir Anshel Rothschild, the founder of the fabulously wealthy dynasty, was a simple but truly pious and G-d fearing man. He was straight and honest in his business dealings, but he suffered from the discrimination and persecution that was directed against all Jews in Germany in the 18th century.

Crowded into their ghettos and suffering legal disabilities that make today’s claims of discriminations pale into insignificance, the German Jews suffered poverty and wretchedness.

Rothschild saw that he would have to change his location if he hoped to change his luck, so he decided to go east and become a peddler. He wandered throughout Poland, living the life of a nomad, until he came to the Galilcian town of Chortkov.

In Chortkov, he was accepted as a shamash in the beis medrash of Reb Tzvi Hirsch Horowitz, the father of Reb Pinchas Halevi and Reb Shmuel Shmelke.

He was a faithful and hard-working shamash and people liked and trusted him. He gradually started a small business wherein he sold sefarim, tefillin and tzizis. He managed to save a little money and things began to look up for him, until one day an event occurred that was to force him to leave Chortkov.

The Dispute

It happened that two merchants had a violent dispute over money. Coming before Reb Tzvi Hirsch, they demanded that he preside over a din Torah and decide which of the two was correct.

“Very well,” answered the rav. “But you must each put up a sum of money as guarantee that you will abide by the decision that I render.”

Both parties agreed and put up 200 gold pieces. The rav then sat back and listened to both parties outline their case.

After carefully weighing both sides, the rav rendered a verdict on behalf of one of the merchants. The loser paid and now the rav turned to the shamash and said,

“Get the money that this man gave me as security and return it to him.”

The shamash went out and returned, pale and trembling.

“Rebbe, the money is gone! Someone has stolen it!”

A search of the premises failed to turn up any sign of the money and suspicion was directed against the shamash who had access to the entire house.

“Rebbe, I give you my word that I had nothing to do with it,” pleaded the shamash.

“I believe you,” said the rav, “but I must ask that you swear an oath that you did not touch the money.”

Reb Meir Anshel was shocked. To swear an oath, who ever heard of such a thing? If his word was not good enough….

“I cannot swear an oath,” he cried. “I would rather pay from my own pocket despite the fact that I know I am innocent of all wrongdoing.”

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 “The Chassidim Of Germany”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Hamas's leader in Gaza, Ismail Haniyeh (in blue shirt, center), benefitted politically - and in a dramatic fashion - from this summer's war.  Photo from Hamas victory rally, Aug. 27, 2014.
Gazan Deaths and Destruction Dramatically Drives Popularity for Hamas
Latest Kidz Stories
Tales of the Gaonim-logo

“It isn’t the work,” said Eliezer. “I want to learn our holy Torah.”

Tales of the Gaonim-logo

In their perverted justice they also declared the following law: Anyone who was injured by another so that blood flowed from his wound, was compelled to pay his attacker since he bled him!

Tales-of-The-Midrash-logo

“When I asked why she cried so much she said she came from a very religious home and feared she would be sold to a non-Jew and forced to convert.

Tales of the Gaonim-logo

Know that from. the day I began to recite the holy name of God, I have always loved Shabbos

And so the enemy burst into the Sanctuary and set up a stand on the Temple Mount.

By means of a clever pretext, they succeeded in getting Rabi Yitzhak aboard a ship and sailed it down the river.

When the young man awoke, he did not know where he was. As he looked around, the princess looked out and saw him.

One winter morning a terrible blizzard raged, the weather dropped to below zero, and the woman became desperately ill.

Entering the city he visited the cattle market and saw two parei adumah untouched by any harness.

Crowded into their ghettos and suffering legal disabilities that make today’s claims of discriminations pale into insignificance, the German Jews suffered poverty and wretchedness.

Every night he would go out in the darkness and dig for hours until the waters began to rise, and watering places for the weary and thirsty came into being.

One of the greatest opponents was a certain wealthy man who did all that he could to make life difficult for Rav Naftali.

Do you wonder at times what possible purpose some little insect might have for being?

The two fathers began to discuss the terms and naturally, they were astounded to find that each one assumed that the other would give double.

Twelve years went by until Eliyahu HaNavi came to the entrance of the cave and exclaimed, “The Roman emperor has died and all of his decrees have become void. You are no longer under a death sentence.”

Rav Naftali was born the day that the Baal Shem Tov passed away, on the holiday of Shavuos, in the year 5520

More Articles from Rabbi Sholom Klass
Tales of the Gaonim-logo

“It isn’t the work,” said Eliezer. “I want to learn our holy Torah.”

Tales-of-The-Midrash-logo

He followed her advice and, before departing, the rabbanim offered him a bracha. “Aba Yudin, may the Lord return your wealth, for all the kind deeds you do.”

In their perverted justice they also declared the following law: Anyone who was injured by another so that blood flowed from his wound, was compelled to pay his attacker since he bled him!

“When I asked why she cried so much she said she came from a very religious home and feared she would be sold to a non-Jew and forced to convert.

Know that from. the day I began to recite the holy name of God, I have always loved Shabbos

And so the enemy burst into the Sanctuary and set up a stand on the Temple Mount.

By means of a clever pretext, they succeeded in getting Rabi Yitzhak aboard a ship and sailed it down the river.

When the young man awoke, he did not know where he was. As he looked around, the princess looked out and saw him.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/kidz/tales-of-the-gaonim/the-chassidim-of-germany-2/2014/06/20/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: