|Stories of The Baal Shem Tov: Ki Tavo: A Dubious Honor|
|Written by Bentzion of Medziboz|
And then there was the time that Reb Nochum of Tchernobel had come to Mezibush to spend Rosh HaShanah with his Rebbe, the Baal Shem Tov. He had arrived several weeks early to be sure he wasn't delayed by bad weather. Also, he enjoyed studying the deep Chassidic insights with the Baal Shem Tov and the other close followers before the Yom Tov began.
On the first Shabbos he arrived, he was called to the Torah for the fifth aliyah, the Tochocha-reproval portion of the weekly sedra of Ki Savo, which sets forth the chilling prophecy of Moses to the Jewish people of the horrors that would befall them if they spurned G.d and the Torah.
When Reb Nochum heard his name being called, he felt shivers go down his spine.
"This is considered an honor?" Reb Nochum wondered to himself. "Everyone shies away from this aliya for fear that the curses described may be visited upon them in some degree or other. And me - a guest of the Rebbe has been given this very dubious honor?"
Still, Reb Nochum's misgivings did not prevent him from going up to recite the blessings upon the Torah, especially since the Baal Shem Tov himself was to read from the Torah scroll.
Reb Nochum had been sick for a greater part of his life. Up until then, even the blessings he had received from the Baal Shem Tov for a complete healing hadn't helped him overcome the daily pains he felt because of his poor health.
But as the Baal Shem Tov began reading the Tochocha portion of the weekly sedra of Ki Savo, he felt his aches and pains leave him, bit by bit. As the Rebbe read on, he could actually experience a new strength surge through his veins and organs, one by one until, upon conclusion, he felt himself totally rejuvenated as never before.
And so it was.
Freely adapted by Tzvi Meir HaCohane (Howard M. Cohn, Patent Attorney) from a story found in Safron Shel Tzadikim and translated in STORIES OF THE BAAL SHEM TOV by Y Y.Y. Klapholtz and reprinted with the kind permission of the Baal Shem Tov Foundation. Please visit www.baalshemtov.com
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