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Monday, January 08, 2007



Today is Chai [18th] Teves, the yahrzeit of Rebbe Tzvi Elimelech of Dinov, better known as the Bnei Yissaschar, after his famous sefer. Last year, we posted about him twice:
Be sure to check them out!

This year, I’d like to present a very special story from our good friend Yrachmiel of Ascent Institute of Tzfat. Enjoy!

After we finish our festive meal at the Seder, it is customary to "open the door for Eliyahu HaNavi - Elijah the Prophet". It is said that if we see anyone when we open the door, it is Eliyahu.

When the Bnei Yissaschar was ten years old, his father took a position as a teacher in a distant town. The Bnei Yissaschar's father spent the duration of the winter in a Jewish-owned inn. In those days it was normal for a schoolteacher not to see his family from October to April.

That winter was particularly bitter. Snowstorms lasted for a week. During one such storm, a knock was heard at the door. The innkeeper opened the door and found three half frozen Polish peasants requesting a place to stay. He inquired of their ability to pay and found that their combined funds were not enough for even one night's stay. The innkeeper closed the door on them. The schoolteacher was shocked. When he complained to the owner, the owner merely shrugged and responded, "Do you want to undertake their expenses?" Much to the innkeeper’s surprise, the teacher agreed.

The peasants thanked their benefactor and proceeded to enjoy themselves at his expense. That storm was particularly brutal and the peasants remained in the inn for two weeks. After the snow cleared enough for passage, they thanked the schoolteacher profusely and left.

Pesach [Passover] approached and the Bnei Yissaschar's father went to settle his account. The innkeeper figured he owned the teacher 40 rubles for teaching his children, but the teacher owned him 43 rubles for taking in the peasants. The innkeeper wished him a happy Pesach and said he could bring the three rubles upon his return after Pesach.

The father did not know what to say. He bid his host farewell and left. He traveled to his village, but could not bring himself to go home. He stopped into one of the local synagogues, opened a tome of the Talmud and immersed himself in study. In the meantime, his son heard that his father was in town and went looking for him. He found his father in the shul.

The Bnei Yissaschar ran to his father and with great emotion begged his father to come home. He wanted to show his father his new Pesach shoes and clothes and all the other things mommy had bought (on credit). This made the father only feel worse. As they walked home, a chariot came rumbling through the streets. The streets of that hamlet were very narrow and pedestrians were forced into alleyways to avoid be trampled. As the coach passed by the two, it hit a bump and a parcel fell off the back. The Bnei Yissaschar's father picked it up and began running after the coach, but was unable to get the coachman’s attention. The coach turned a corner and disappeared. The Bnei Yissaschar's father, seeing no distinguishing marks on the bag, understood that in such a situation it may be presumed that the owner would relinquish all hope of its recovery, and since there was no possible way for him to locate the owner, therefore it was his to keep. He opened it and found exactly 43 rubles.

Opening the door for Eliyahu HaNavi on Seder night

The night of the Seder, the Bnei Yissaschar was given the merit to open the door for Eliyahu. When he opened the door, he called to his father, "Ta, (Yiddish for ‘Dad’) the coachman is here!" There was no one there. The Bnei Yissaschar's father pulled the boy aside and told him that he must promise never to tell anyone this story until he was on his deathbed.

This story was told to me by a rabbi who heard it from a student of the Bnei Yissaschar, who heard directly from the Bnei Yissaschar on his deathbed!

Lightly edited from the weekly e-letter of Rabbi Herschel Finman of Detroit - Shliach613@aol.com

I posted this on the Ezkera post, but it may have gotten lost there since it's such an old post:

I have a taped copy of the Ezkera Niggun, as well as a Yedid Nefesh. I guess it was recorded at one of the Yahrzeits. The person I got it from is not sure where he got it from. Is there any interest in distributing this Niggun? I plan to convert it to mp3.
Anonymous: I have previously warned against indiscrete "distribution" of the Ezkera, as follows: Note: it should be obvious that this niggun is a very special one, and cannot be sung under all circumstances. In fact, Modzitz tradition has it that the Divrei Yisrael put a schloss - a lock - on the niggun. Due to its complexity, not everyone can sing this niggun on his own...Usually, one of the senior Chassidim in Modzitz, who has been initiated into learning the niggun fully and correctly, leads it, and the rest of the Chassidim and the Rebbe sing along with him. Attempts by others to perform this niggun, whether orchestrally or vocally, have all failed miserably.
and this: You will not find it on the 'Net nor in a music store. As I hinted in the "Note" to this piece, this niggun is carefully guarded. The only way to hear it is to come to the Seudas Hilula...
However, I would be interested in hearing the Yedid Nefesh, if you could e-mail it to me at hanegina@yahoo.com
Great story!
would love to have a recording of either of these niggunim pls email mrwpants [at] yahoo.com
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