The tzaddik Reb Hershele and his pious wife lived only to help others, and treated the poor and unfortunate souls they met with great kindness.
Rabbi Hershele would study Torah day and night and found it very difficult to make a living. But he had one goal in life: settling in the holy land of Israel. Day and night he would pray that his dream should materialize, until one day G-d heard his prayers. It came about through the following manner:
A state fair was held in the town of Kaminka, Poland, where the tzaddik and his wife lived. One day a peddler came to their home and asked whether he could leave his sack of merchandise in their place for the night. He could not carry the bag as it was too heavy and he had heard that they were very honest and trustworthy.
The rebbetzin pointed to a closet, which was rarely used and advised the peddler to drop the bag into it. The peddler thanked her and departed. The fair closed and spring turned into summer and the peddler never came to call for his sack. The rebbetzin soon forgot about it. Eventually winter came, followed by spring and Pesach.
Erev Pesach the pious Reb Hershele began to clean out the chametz from the house when he came upon the sack lying in the closet. Trying to pull it out he found it to be so heavy that he had to call his wife to help him. Imagine their surprise when they found it contained thousands of gold coins. The wife then recalled the incident of the peddler who had disappeared, never leaving his name or address.
“It must be G-d’s will that we received this money,” said her husband. “G-d must have finally hearkened to my prayers so that we may now go to Israel.”
Following Pesach the pious couple departed for Israel.
Soon after their arrival in Israel, a neighboring woman was having difficulty giving birth to her child and the doctors attending to her feared the worst. When Reb Hershele heard what was taking place, he sent his wife to see the poor woman. The moment the rebbetzin stepped into the bedroom the woman gave birth. People soon called what happened a miracle and began to visit the rebbetzin whenever they needed help.
In the city of Jerusalem, where Reb Hershele and his wife lived, there also lived the Pasha, the governor of the city. His daughter was expecting a child and she found it very difficult to give birth. The best doctors of the land were summoned, even professors from Constantinople. But it was to no avail and their opinion was unanimous – it was impossible to save both mother and child. One of them would have to die.
The Pasha and his wife were frantic; they loved their daughter and they looked forward to a grandchild in their old age. In desperation, the Pasha visited the chief rabbi of the city, with whom he was very friendly. He told him his troubles and pleaded with him to pray to his G-d for his daughter.
“Fear not,” replied the rav, “I will help you today. I know a pious woman, a saint, who works miracles with expectant mothers. I will bring her to your home today.”
The rav immediately visited Reb Hershele’s home and urged the rebbetzin to come to the Pasha’s residence.
“He had done many good deeds for the Jews in Israel,” said the aged rav, “and we owe him this favor in return.”
Reb Hershele’s wife accompanied him to the Pasha’s house. As they entered they saw all the doctors huddled together and shaking their heads. The poor woman was near death and nothing could save her. But no sooner did the Reb Hershele’s wife step into the room, when lo and behold, a miracle occurred. The struggling mother suddenly became calm and a healthy young boy was born.Rabbi Sholom Klass