In Honor of Daniella Miriam Transcribed with Love and Deep Admiration by Sara for Connections Magazine
I want to tell you a good story that I heard on the first day of Succos. Someone told me he heard it from his father, a Hasid, and just forgive me, because I have to throw a lot of names at you, but just imagine for a moment that you know them… Again, this is a story of the highest and the deepest, the Heileger Reb Mordechai, Reb Motelle Neshcheezer (whose Yahrzeit is tonight). The Holy Ropshitzer, Reb Naftali, was one of his followers. Okay, at the time, Reb Naftali was maybe seventeen years old and he came to Neshcheez for Purim, and after Purim, the Holy Neshcheezer tells him, “Do me one favor. Please don’t come here for Pesach.” Now Reb Naftali really wants to be with his Rebbe for Pesach. So he thinks to himself, “Hmm. Pesach is in four weeks time. Okay, I’ll talk my way back into getting invited to Neshcheez for Pesach.”
So it’s a few days before Pesach. So Reb Naftali goes to the kitchen and helps the Rebbetsn. You know Pesach is coming, it’s the Holy Nescheezer, there are thousands of Hasidim and the Rebbetsn needs help so badly. So after he helps her for a few days, Reb Naftali asks the Rebbetsn, you know, just do me one small favor, just ask your holy husband, my Rebbe, to let me stay.” Okay, he talked her into it, so the Rebbetsn asks the Neshcheezer, “I need Naftali so badly, he helps me so much in the kitchen.” So the Neshcheezer tells his Rebbetsn, “Okay, he can stay. But I’m telling you now, he will make me a lot of trouble.”
So if you know a little about what we do the morning before Pesach, say about ten in the morning or so, you burn whatever is left over from the bread. But it’s not only burning a crumb of bread. It is mamash wiping out all the evil from the world. You are mamash cleaning yourself in the deepest way. Okay, after this is over, Reb Naftali goes to the beis medresh (the synagogue), because now the cleaning is all finished and this is a good time to learn just a little bit…
Now let me interrupt the story for a minute. Imagine you sit in a room that smells bad. Then you don’t even know after a while that it smells bad. Sadly, sadly enough, we are so accustomed to the spiritually evil smell of this world, that we don’t even know anymore what good smelling is. But the Holy Ropshitzer knew what a good smell and a bad smell is.
So suddenly the door to the Beis Medresh flies open, and nebekh, a schlepper walks in and oy, gevalt, does he smell bad! You could see that there is not a sin he has not committed yet– and — guess what — he is ready for more! So the schlepper comes in and asks RebNaftali, “May I see the Rebbe?” Now the Heileger Ropshitzer thinks, “Gevalt oy! Just two minutes ago my holy master, the Neshcheezer burned all the evil. He mamash cleansed himself and the entire world. There is absolutely no evil left! And this disgusting low filthy
schlepper is destroying my whole Yom Tov! I won’t allow it!” So he says to the shlepper, “Is that all you need to do, see my Rebbe? Why don’t you go home first, cleanse yourself a bit, wipe out your chumetz and do just a little teshuva first before you have the chutzpa, the audacity to disturb my holy Rebbe. Araus! Out! Chutzpa!” So the shlepper walks out of the Beis Medresh and Reb Naftali entirely forgets about it.
A minute later, the Nascheezer comes running into the Beis Medrash and asks Reb Naftali, “Was anyone just here?” He answers him, “No, at least nobody I know of.” So the Nashcheezer tells him, “I’m not asking you if it was anyone you know, I’m not asking whether someone who looked holy to you was here. I am asking you if anyone was just here?” So Reb Naftali answers him, “Now that you mention it, yes, there was this disgusting shlepper… disgusting…” The Neshcheezer is throwing up his hands! “Gevalt! What did you say to him?” So he answers, “What do you think? I threw him out, of course.” So the Nashcheezer is about to have a heart attack. So he grabs the Holy Ropshitzer by the neck and screams, “If you don’t bring him back right away, I don’t want to see you here ever again.”
Mamash, the Ropshitzer is besides himself. He runs around all over the city. Finally he finds the shlepper in a bar somewhere, already he’s drunk like a dog, without saying anything too disrespectful about dogs… Now you know how disrepepectful the Ropshitzer was to the shlepper before. But this time, the Ropshitzer treats the shlepper as if he were the holiest Rebbe in the world. So he says to him, “Please, I am begging you! Please come back with me to the Neshcheezer, because if you don’t come back, my holy Rebbe will never speak to me again!” But it’s not so easy. The shlepper has had enough of the Ropshitzer. He only wants to be left in peace, let alone go back with him. So the Ropshitzer physically grabs him and literally carries the shlepper back with him to the Nashcheezer. And the Holy Nashcheezer is so overjoyed to see him! He hugs and kisses the shlepper, telling him, “Where have you been? I am so overjoyed to see you… I am so overjoyed to see you!”
So the Nashcheezer dismisses the Ropshitzer and takes the shlepper into his humble abode. The Nashcheezer gives the shlepper a bath and new garments. For Yom Tov, he gives him a long “bekeshe” and “shteimel”. And the shlepper is shining mamash from one corner of this world to the other. So after Pesach, the Nashcheezer explains it to the Rophsitzer. “I want you to know that this shlepper was not always a poor shlepper. He was my greatest, utmost holiest of the holy, deepest of the deep, student. His head was mamash in heaven, maybe, maybe, his feet touched the ground. But the saddest thing happened. You know he is just a human being. Once he made a mistake. But since he knew that I knew about it, even without his telling me or my telling him, he left and was ashamed to ever come back. And since he was so ashamed to come back, it was just downhill, downhill, downhill… I want you to know that on Purim, I mamash davened so strong to haShem,
“Please bring him back!” So I saw in prophecy that he would come this Eruv Pesach. And I also saw propheticaly, that you would be here in the Beis Medresh when he came back and would throw him out. So I wanted you out of the picture. That’s why I told you not to come. Eruv Pesach, he had decided to give it one more chance. He thought, “If my holy Rebbe the Nashcheezer takes me back without saying anything, then I shall stay. But if his Hasidim throw me out, then I’ll never come back again.” So now you knowthe story. You knw this story is so gevalt, so awesome. You never know, someone you meet, maybe for that person it’s the last try…