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The Lawsuit

The Lawsuit


One Friday afternoon a man knocked on the door of Rabbi Yizchak Aizik, rabbi of Vitebsk. “Rabbi, I have a din Torah (a matter of litigation),” he said. “I request that you hear my case and hand down a ruling.”

“The truth is,” said the rabbi, “that I’m quite busy now with preparations for Shabbat. Perhaps you and your litigant can come after Shabbat, and I’ll hear you both out.”

“I’m a melamed (teacher),” said the man, “who teaches children from morning to night. The only time I’m free is on Friday afternoons.”

“Very well,” said Rabbi Yizchak Aizik, “I’ll hear your case now. But we must summon your litigant. It is forbidden for me to hear your arguments without his being present.”

“He is present,” said the man. “My din Torah is with G‑d.”

“Okay,” said Rabbi Yizchak Aizik, after a long pause. “Come into the beit din1 and I’ll hear your case.”

Said the melamed: “G‑d has blessed me with a daughter, who has now reached marriageable age. But I have not a kopek in my pocket—no money for clothes or wedding expenses, much less a dowry. My claim is that G‑d is legally obligated to provide for my daughter’s wedding.”

“What is your basis for such a claim?” asked Rabbi Yitzchak Aizik.

“The Torah states, ‘There are three partners to a person: his father, mother and G‑d.’2 Two of the partners are paupers, but the third partner is, by His own attestation, quite wealthy: does He not declare, ‘Mine is the silver, Mine is the gold’3? It is therefore the duty of the rich partner to assume the expenditures of our joint endeavor.”

The rabbi retreated to his study to check the relevant sources and ponder the case. After a while, he emerged with his verdict. “The melamed is in the right,” he declared. “The Almighty is duty-bound, by Torah law, to provide for the young woman’s marriage.”

When the melamed neared home, he saw a luxurious coach pulling away from his dilapidated hut. “You won’t believe what just happened,” said his wife, the moment he came through the door. “Some nobleman was here with his wife. The lady has it in her mind that someone has given her the evil eye, and heard that the melamed’s wife knows the proper charms to ward it off. I did as she asked, and when the nobleman asked me how much he should pay me, I named the sum we need for the dowry and wedding expenses. Without a word, the man put the money on the table and left.”

The room set aside for conducting din Torahs; usually the rabbi’s study, or an anteroom in the synagogue.
Talmud, Kiddushin 30b.
Yanki Tauber served as editor of
Illustration: Detail from a painting by Chassidic artist Hendel Lieberman.
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clinton russell February 8, 2014

love this story thank you for sharing Reply

Esther Sarah Evans Yerushalayim, Eretz Yisrael January 25, 2014

ב"ה b"H inyan: just as with the rain, HE wants that we should request it b"H
Those who really believe can appreciate how just such a thing as this could happen, for good fortune or even just parnassah are things for which, like the rain in Eretz Yisrael, HE expects we should ask for them. Even greater perhaps than these cases are those resulting not just from request, but also from our overcoming the Yetzer hara. Reply

Craig Hamilton Sandwich, MA January 22, 2014

Awesome Story This is the kind of faith that I beseech for us to have, though I have met so many that would scoff at this. This is the only kind of faith that brings such rewards. Gd sent for these individuals because Hashem keeps His word. It is beyond reason in a way, as it defies probability, and certainly enters the world of the paranormal, but it is also true that this world wouldn't make any sense if TRUE faith didn't bring about such miracles. Reply

GGP Palisades, NY via February 12, 2010

"The Lawsuit" What a bubba meiseh! Except that my bubba had better and more likely stories. Reply

Anonymous Palo Alto, CA July 22, 2005

What a beautiful story What a beautiful story. It gives me hope when the burden is much too great to bear. Reply

Anonymous July 12, 2004

Din Torah Why don't we get a few rabannim and make a din Torah with hakodosh Boruch Hu concerning the fact thet He keeps on delaying the geula, if it worked then it could work now too. Enough Golus already!!!!!!!! Reply

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