The Human Side of the Story

For the week ending 19 January 2008 / 12 Shevat 5768

Sacred Silence

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
Library Library Library
A severe shortage of etrogim in the European city of Zelotshov presented the great Chassidic leader Rabbi Michel with a problem. The only way he could afford to buy the one available high quality etrog was to sell a precious pair of tefillin that he had inherited.

When he brought it home and showed it to his wife, explaining how he paid for it, he was greeted by an angry response.

"You refused to sell your precious tefillin when we were faced by the severest financial difficulties," she complained while looking at the etrog, "and now you sold them for this?"

In her anger she was careless in handling the etrog and it fell to the floor and became disqualified for use in the coming holiday.

Rabbi Michel, aware that everything that happens is decreed in Heaven, said nothing.

That night this righteous Jew was visited in a dream by his father who informed him that his silence made a greater impression in Heaven than the sale of his precious possession.

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