The young widower was crushed and cried bitterly at his loss. When the passing of time seemed to do nothing to heal his pain, those disturbed by his prolonged mourning and visible distress arranged for the young man to visit the Maharshal.
The talmid ultimately confessed to the tzaddik that on her deathbed his wife had made him promise to never remarry. Since he’d have done anything to please his sick wife, he had vowed to her that he would honor her wish.
The young man divulged that the thought of living out his life alone, deprived of setting up a bayis ne’eman, was causing him unrelenting anguish. After some deliberation, the tzaddik assured him that he needn’t honor the vow and assured him that he had nothing to fear, for the Maharshal himself would accept any culpability.
In due course, a suitable match was proposed for the alman. After seeking the blessing of the Maharshal, he became a chosson. A mere few days later, he suddenly passed away. This latest calamity to befall the poor young man just as he was finally experiencing some joy in his life discombobulated everyone but the Maharshal.
The tzaddik gave a written note to the Chevra Kadisha, to be placed in the hand of the niftar. The members of the burial team were further instructed to leave the kever uncovered and to immediately withdraw from the cemetery grounds.
The note, respectfully addressing the Heavenly Court, questioned how a mitzvas lo ta’aseh (negative commandment – prohibiting the breaking of a vow) could be made to override a mitzvas asseh (positive commandment – to marry and beget children).
In the name of Shlomo Luria, the missive further decreed that the young man’s neshama be returned forthwith. It wasn’t long before the supposed deceased was seen walking the streets of Lublin in his tachrichim (white burial shrouds), calmly making his way home – as the townspeople were gripped by sheer terror.
Needless to say, this open miracle and the koach of the tzaddik became the talk of Lublin and beyond. His kallah, however, had no desire to live with a man whose résumé included having once been a niftar. And so the tzaddik appealed to the heavens again – this time that the memory of this drama be erased from everyone’s mind.
Within a couple of days, the amazing event was indeed forgotten. The young man married his zivug and the couple lived out their years happily and productively.
(The Gaon Rav Meir Shapira who served as Lubliner Rav at a later time related this story.)