Everyone in the town of Braditchev was worried; it was just 12 hours before the holiday of Succos, and they still had no Esrog (A citrus fruit used in one of the Commandments of the holiday) • Full Article
Everyone in the town of Braditchev was worried; it was just 12 hours before the holiday of Succos, and they still had no Esrog (A citrus fruit used in one of the Commandments of the holiday).
The entire town gathered in the large Shul (Synagogue) to read Psalms, with the hope that G-d would have mercy on them, and send them a miracle.
Into the Shul walked a uniformed man, obviously someone’s servant, and began asking for directions to the hotel. It seems that his master, a devoutly religious and very wealthy Jew, was waiting in the carriage parked outside, and wanted to rest for a while before continuing the last leg of a long journey.
Immediately Rabbi Levi Yitchak, the holy Rabbi of Braditchev, raced outside to the carriage, and personally invited the man to his home.
Minutes later they were sitting in the Rabbi’s study.
“Ahh yes! My name is Grois (pseudonym) I have certainly heard of you Rabbi,” Said and it is a true honor and privilege to be your guest. I am so grateful to HaShem for this opportunity.”
“That is a beautiful silver case you have there, Mister Gros,” said the Rabbi, pointing to the silver box that his guest was careful to not let out of his site, “Surely it must house a splendid Esrog. May I see it?” The Rabbi took the case and opened it. “Ahh, exquisite!”
The Rabbi slowly closed the lid of the silver Esrog box, and looked Grois squarely in the eyes. “You know Mr. Grois, you look like a very unique man, a man of principle and extreme kindness”.
“Thank you Rabbi” Said the obviously flattered Grois “And I plan to give a fine donation to your wonderful community. Now, please, if you will excuse me for just half an hour. I would like to just lay down for a while, as I’m very tired from the road, and I have a six hour drive ahead of me. Please excuse me Rabbi”.
“Yes, of course” Said the Rabbi. “But that is exactly what I want to talk to you about. You see….we need your Esrog here in Braditchev”.
“My Esrog?” gasped the incredulous guest, “Why…it cost me Five hundred Rubles! And that’s not including the time and bother. No no, Rabbi, please understand and forgive me, but I cannot. This Esrog is the entire reason that I made this arduous five day journey, and my family and friends are all waiting. No, it’s simply out of the question. Excuse me, Rabbi, please forgive me, but I will be forced to leave now and forgo my rest, I am sorry, I can not part with my Esrog”.
But the Rebbe was not to be discouraged so easily.
“Mr. Grois, how would you like half of my place in the world to come?”.
Suddenly Grois’s mind snapped to attention as he sat back down in his chair, looking all the while into the Rabbi’s holy eyes. He was no fool, he knew a good deal when he heard it, and he knew a serious deal when he heard it, and this was probably the best and most serious deal he ever heard in his life.
The words made his mind spin. “Half of my place in the world to come!”
Grois was a believer, an observant Jew; he knew very well what the Rabbi meant. He knew that after one dies he is at the mercy of the Creator, and who could describe the terrible pain and horrors of Hell, or the infinite bliss of Heaven! Especially such a Heaven as that of Rav Levi Yitzchak!!!
“Of course I would” he answered. “But is such a thing possible?”
“If you will agree to stay here for the holiday with your Esrog, then it’s yours” answered the Rabbi.
Without hesitating he answered, “Yes, I agree!”
Rabbi Levi Yitzchak called to ten of his pupils, took out a quill and a piece of parchment, and began to write out the deed of sale. He wrote all the details, had the pupils sign, and ceremoniously gave the document into Grois’s trembling hands.
Travel on without me!” Said Grois to his servant. “Tell my wife and family that I’m fine, and I’ll return and explain everything after the holiday”.
That night, the Shul was in an unusually joyous mood; it was the Holiday of Succos, and G-d miraculously sent them an Esrog. And to top it all off, they had an honorable guest; the generous Mr Grois.
After the prayers, the entire congregation filed by Grois to express their gratitude, and wish him a joyous holiday. One by one, until finally, after receiving hundreds of smiling handshakes, he was left standing alone in the huge Shul with a big smile on his face.
“Hmm” He thought to himself, “They forgot to invite me to eat. I’ll just sit here until they realize their mistake”.
After fifteen minutes of waiting, he decided that he would go outside and have a look around. Maybe someone would see him. But no one was to be seen. They were all sitting in their Succos, enjoying their Holiday meals. Melodies and laughter echoed in the the cold, empty streets.
He couldn’t just wait there, so he walked to the first house he saw with a Mezuza on the door, and knocked on the door of the Succa there.
“Ahhh, Mr. Grois, what an honor! What! No one invited you to eat? How can that be? Go to the home of the Shul President, he will set this thing aright”.
But when he got to the house of the President no one was home; probably they were eating by someone else.
Over an hour had passed since the end of the prayers. People were already coming out of their Succos, and taking strolls to settle their meals. Goldblatt was getting desperate, and hungry.
“Good Yom Tov Mr Grois!” One of the strollers yelled in his direction. “Good Yom Tov” he answered waving, and trying to force a smile. “Can you tell me where is the Succa of Rabbi Levi Yitzchak?” he said.
Ten minutes later he was knocking at the door of the Rabbi’s Succah.
“Ahhh, Good Yom Tov Mr Grois! Probably you want to eat the Yom Tov meal. I have a full meal set for you…in my house”.
“In your house?!” asked Grois incredulously. “I want to sit in a Succah like all the other Jews. I want to eat my meal in a Succah – not in a house!”
“Ahhh…you want to do the Mitzva (commandment)?” Said the Rabbi. “Why didn’t you say so? All right, just give me back the document”.
“What!?” Cried Grois, “My Olom HaBa! (World to come). No way! I’m not giving up my place in Heaven just to sit in a booth with some leafs on it! That’s crazy! What do I need it for? I have your promise! I’ll get heaven whether I do the Mitzva or not, right? Especially because you are preventing me from the Mitzva for sure I have nothing to worry about. I’ll eat in the house!”
“Good” said Rabbi Levi as he took his guest by the arm and led him through the door to the lavishly set table in his home, poured him a cup of wine, and opened the prayer book to the “Kiddush” blessing.
Grois took the cup in his hand and began to say the blessing, and then he stopped.
He stood like that for over a minute, deep in thought, until he put down the cup, wiped off his hand, and from his breast pocket pulled out the deed that the Rabbi had written earlier for him. “Here” he said proudly. “Now let me eat in your Succah”.
“Certainly!” Said Rabbi Levi Yitzchak, and he escorted him back outside.
This time, however, Grois felt like a different man. He was no longer Grois the shrewd businessman; he was now Grois the Jew.
Never ever in his life had he been so sure of himself; he was doing the Commandment of G-d and NOTHING was going to stop him.
Rav Levi Yitzchak moved the meal from the house into the Succah, while Grois just sat there in the Succah, looking up at the leaves and branches of the ceiling. He filled the wine cup and made Kiddush, washed his hands for bread, and ate a few bites.
He then closed his eyes, began rocking back and forth in his seat, and began singing a happy song until he felt as though the whole universe was singing with him.
The next thing he knew, they were dancing. Spinning and singing, clapping their hands like….like JEWS! Finally, when they were out of breath and could dance no more, he looked at the beaming Rebbe and said;
“Thank you, Rebbe, thank you! You have given me a new soul!
Who cares about Heaven! Now I am really alive! For the first time in my life I am feeling what it means to do a Commandment”
The Rebbe succeeded in putting the Succah inside of his guest.
This is why Succos is more connected to Moshiach than any other holiday, because the Succah encompasses us, and also permeates us totally with the feeling of faith, joy, and peace of mind.
And that is exactly the job of Moshiach; to fill the world with the knowledge of G-d and spread over us “Succat Shlomehchaw”, HaShem’s Succa of Peace.
But it all depends on us to hasten Moshiach’s arrival. And not much is lacking. We are standing on the merits of thousands of years of Jewish self-sacrifice. Now it could be that just one more good deed, word or even thought can tilt the scales and bring a healthy, happy, sweet New Year with
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