|Stories of the Baal Shem Tov-Purim|
|Written by Bentzion of Medziboz|
And then there was the time that a very poor family that lived in a small town near Mezibush, the home of the Baal Shem Tov. Every year, the husband Moshe, went to visit his Rebbe, the Baal Shem Tov. Before each visit, his wife Malka would ask her husband to speak with the Baal Shem Tov about their poverty.
Things had gotten progressively worse. Finally, Malka said, "Moshe, next week, when you go to the Baal Shem Tov, ask him for a blessing."
Moshe answered, "Malka, I've told you before, when I have Yichidus (private audience) with the Rebbe, I only ask about our spiritual growth."
That answer didn't satisfy Malka. For the next week, Malka kept reminding Moshe, "Don't leave Medzibush until you tell him about our living situation. I'm sure he'll give us his blessing."
The next week, when Moshe was in Yichidus with the Holy Baal Shem Tov, he finally told of his family's poverty. "Please give us your blessing, Rebbe," he asked.
The Baal Shem Tov looked directly into Moshe's eyes and said, "Go to the bridge on the road over the Bog river. Underneath the bridge, by the riverbank, there is a buried treasure.
"Oh thank you Rebbe," Reb Moshe said as he rushed to the bridge. As soon as he arrived, he started to dig. He was already sweating when he heard a voice, "Hey Moshe, what are you doing down here?"
He looked up on the bridge and saw an old acquaintance, Reb Yankel the butcher. After they spoke awhile, Moshe finally told him, "Reb Yankel, I just left Yichidus with the Baal Shem Tov. After I explained how difficult it was to make a living these days, the Rebbe told me that if I dug here, under the bridge, I would find a treasure."
Now Reb Yankel, who was not a great believer in the spiritual powers of the Baal Shem Tov replied, "Now that's interesting because just last week I had a dream where a man who looked quite a bit like the Baal Shem Tov came to me and told me there is a treasure buried under a stove in the house of a Reb Moshe ----- that's funny, I just remembered the house was in your town. But you really don't think I'm going to find this Reb Moshe's house and start digging under his oven? So Reb Moshe, I really think you should go home."
Moshe feigned a laugh and said, "You're right Reb Yankel, I think I'll go on home." As soon as he was out of sight, Reb Moshe started running towards his house. When he finally arrived, he rushed over to the oven and started digging underneath.
Malka looked at him, out of breath and digging like a crazy man. "Moshe, what are you doing? What happened when you were with the Baal Shem Tov?
"Just a minute Malka and I'll tell you everything."
Just then, Reb Moshe struck an object with his shovel. After a few more shovelfuls, he unearthed a chest filled with gold and silver coins.
Moshe and Malka didn't tell anyone of their treasure. No one knew of their changed circumstances.
As the months passed, Moshe's started to feel more and more guilty and couldn't stop thinking, "I'm living a comfortable life because of what Reb Yankel told me. At least some of my treasure belongs to him." So Moshe put a tenth of his fortune into a money sack and went to give the money to Yankel. After a day of travel, who should he see but Reb Yankel.
They rushed to each other and said at the same time, "What a coincidence seeing you here."
Then Reb Yankel blurted out, "I want to tell you what happened after we last met. Do you remember that you told me that the Baal Shem Tov told you to dig under the bridge for your treasure? So I decided to look myself. I dug for a few minutes and suddenly I hit something. It turned out to be a chest full of gold and silver coins. I took the treasure home and hid it. Ever since, we've been living modestly. However, I've felt guilty that I found the money because of you and yet I haven't shared anything with you. So I've put a tenth into a sack and brought it to give to you. I really can't believe what a coincidence that I just met you. So here it is," Reb Yankel said as he gave the money sack to Moshe, "and thank you very much."
When Reb Yankel was finished speaking, Moshe was speechless. Then he said, "My dear friend, I can't take this money."
"Why Moshe, are you angry with me? Do you think I should give you more?" said Yankel.
"Oh no," answered Reb Moshe, "It's not that at all. I am just in shock because of the Divine Providence that happened." Then he went on to tell Reb Yankel everything that had transpired and showed him the money sack with one tenth of his fortune that he intended for him. Moshe continued, "It just became clear to me that every person has their own lot in life and they can't take something that belongs to another. The Baal Shem Tov sent me to find a treasure under the bridge. I found my fortune when you told me to look under my oven. At the same time, you found your fortune under the bridge where I was told to look. The biggest miracle is that we both decided to share our fortune with each other and we met here at the crossroad with our money sacks."
They both started hugging and laughing. "So what should we do with this money?" they asked each other.
"Well Reb Yankel, since you have a son of who is at the age to be married and my daughter is also ready to be married, why don't we marry them to each other and give them this money to start off their life," said Reb Moshe.
"I agree!" answered Reb Yankel. Let's go and tell the Baal Shem Tov what happened to both of us."
Within the day, they went to meet with the Baal Shem Tov in Medzibuz. As soon as the Rebbe saw Moshe and Yankel he exclaimed, "Mazel tov! Mazel tov! The match between your children was made in Heaven. Hashem (G·d) opened His treasure house and blessed you both. You can keep your wealth by using it only for good deeds such as helping the poor and needy and by supporting Torah scholars and worthy institutions."
The two men were speechless. The Baal Shem Tov knew everything before they had even spoken a word. The Rebbe asked each of them to tell their story. When they finished, the Baal Shem Tov continued, "I suggest that you both celebrate your good fortune by paying for the wedding of a poor couple who are getting married before your children. I happen to know two orphans that are planning a wedding exactly one week before your childrens. I advise that you, Reb Moshe, provide money for the orphan boy, while you Reb Yankel, will provide for the orphan girl. Having this wedding take place one week before the wedding of your own children will assure that good fortune will remain with you."
Both men gladly agreed and returned home to make the necessary preparations for both weddings. The wedding for the orphan couple was just as lavish as that of their own children.
And so it was.
Adapted by Tzvi Meir HaCohane from a story found in Ohr Yesharim and Otzar Hasipurim and translated in Stories of the BAAL SHEM TOV by Y. Y. Klapholtz and reprinted with the kind permission of the Baal Shem Tov Foundation. Please visit www.baalshemtov.com
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