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The Man Who Did Not Get a Blessing

The Man Who Did Not Get a Blessing

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The businessman was at his wits’ end. For years, he had eked out a living through the small concession that the Polish government had granted him. And now, his license was suddenly revoked, and he had no idea where his next few zlotys would come from.

But for a chassid, all is never lost. With hope in hisHe had no idea where his next few zlotys would come from heart, he traveled to the great Rabbi Chaim of Sanz, known far and wide as a man of G‑d.

He told the saintly man of his troubles, hoping for a blessing, or perhaps even a piece of Divinely-inspired advice. But all he got were questions. “What’s your name? What was your father’s name? What was your grandfather’s name?” And so it went. The rabbi asked the names of the troubled man’s relatives, and he dutifully answered.

And with that, the audience ended.

Moments later, the chassid found himself outside the rabbi’s study, greeted by the group of poor people who, in exchange for a few copper coins, would bless those leaving that the rabbi’s words be fulfilled.

“I’m sorry,” he told the would-be well-wishers, “but I was given no blessings from the rabbi for you to confirm, and have nothing to give you in exchange for your blessings.”

They tried their best to persuade the chassid that even being in the sage’s presence and having him listen to his problems surely constituted a blessing, but he would hear none of it.

Distraught, the man went to the adjacent study hall where he sat and sobbed. In the meantime, Rabbi Yitzchak, one of the most prominent and well-regarded chassidim of the Rebbe of Sanz, entered the study hall and asked the man what was wrong. After hearing the business man’s tale of woe, he too tried to convince him that the great rebbe had surely blessed him, but the man insisted on entering the rebbe’s chamber a second time, hoping for a more reassuring blessing.

And so, Rabbi Yitzchak went to the rebbe’s room and told him about the man outside, and about his abiding sadness and worry.

“Let me tell you what is going on,” said the Rebbe of Sanz. “And please invite the poor businessman to come in as well. He can also hear this story.

“It happened when I was a young man. A group of more than 10 of my peers and I traveled by foot to the city of Lublin to bask in the presence of the great Seer of Lublin. We decided among ourselves that we would not ask anyone for food. Rather, we would go to the kindly people who put up wayfarers like us and gladly rest our bones. If they gave us food, good. And if not, we would continue onward.

“On Sunday, the first day of our trip, we were greeted warmly, but no food was proffered. On Monday, the same thing happened. By that night, I was feeling so weak that I could barely walk, and my friends had to constantly wait for me to keep pace with them. And so it continued all of Tuesday, the third day of our self-imposed fast.

“On Tuesday night, feeling that I had no strength at all, I asked my friends to allow me to ask for food, seeing that I was younger and weaker than the rest, but they refused, saying that an agreement was an agreement.

“On Wednesday morning, I was dragging myself along with my last bit energy, when a man came running toward us. Seeing my sorry state, he dashed into his house and came back with brandy and food for me, observing that my soul was, as he said, ‘standing at the tip of my nose.’

“Grateful that I was able to eat the food since it had beenI ate hungrily and refreshed myself offered without solicitation, I ate hungrily and refreshed myself. The kind stranger then offered food to my companions as well.

“He then invited us all to his home to rest our weary legs. We demurred, saying that we wanted to get to Lublin before Shabbat, and we still had a day and a half of walking ahead of us. He told us that we could still rest at his house and that he would take us to Lublin on his wagon early Thursday morning.

We stayed the night in the kind man’s house and readied ourselves for the wagon ride to Lublin. To our disappointment he then told us that some things had come up, and he was no longer able to give us a ride to Lublin as promised.

“Realizing that there was no longer time for us to arrive before Shabbat if we were to travel by foot, we were greatly disappointed and begged the man to keep his word and give us a ride. After much cajoling, he agreed with one stipulation: ‘From now on,’ the man told us, ‘whenever any of you travel to Lublin, you must make it a point to always spend at least one Shabbat at my home, either on your way there or on your return, giving me the pleasure of extending my hospitality.’

“Of course we agreed, and soon found ourselves riding along to Lublin at a steady pace. We arrived in good time, and enjoyed a most delightful Shabbat in the company of the holy Seer of Lublin.

“From then on, whenever I traveled to Lublin I always made sure to spend Shabbat with this man who had saved my life.

“Years passed, and this kind man left this world. Recently his soul came to me and requested a tikkun (rectification) in exchange for the favor he had done for me.

“And so tell me, Reb Yitzchak,” said the sage of Sanz, addressing his chassid, “do I not owe him a favor? He saved my life and I wanted to do what I could. But I only knew his first name, not the name of his"Do I not owe him a favor?" father, and in the world to come, a person is known by their name and the name of their father. So I prayed to G‑d, asking him that a grandson of this man be sent to me so that I can ask him the full name of his departed ancestor.

Rabbi Chaim turned to the businessman and continued: “This man is worried that his business license has been revoked. The truth is that it’s nothing. The license was taken from him temporarily so that he could come to me for this purpose. Now that the name of his grandfather is known, there is no need for a blessing. He can return home in peace and with confidence.”

And so it was.

Adapted from Avodat Haavodah (Vayakhel) by Rabbi Meshulam Lowy of Tosh

Rabbi Menachem Posner serves as staff editor for Chabad.org.
Sefira Ross is a freelance designer and illustrator whose original creations grace many Chabad.org pages. Residing in Seattle, Washington, her days are spent between multitasking illustrations and being a mom.
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Anonymous April 19, 2017

Beautiful. Let us refuse to despair when things appear negative. Let's keep our faith strong that G=d has not loosened control of providence.Thank you for relating this encouraging story. Reply

Anonymous Chicago July 8, 2017

What does Tikkun mean and do to the soul? Reply

Anonymous Bronx May 21, 2017

The Man who didn't get a blessing... I would have been annoyed that I was required to travel, to lose wages, etc., for the sake of this holy one. I would have wanted him to seek me out, where I would have put him up and fed him well and given him the information that he sought. But, I guess, that's just me. Reply

arthur yanoff April 30, 2017

no seemingly hidden blessings of a great chossid should be ignored or dismissed even if they first appear to mystify. Reply

Robert Lengyel Portland April 30, 2017

Beautiful story gives me a lot to think about Reply

Myriam Karo Israel April 27, 2017

BH
I enjoyed reading your article
I try to do things in my life to praise H"
Though sometimes it is difficult Reply

jim dallas April 23, 2017

quality artwork here and on the bk of daniel article....also the story was just amazing...thanks rabbi and artist! Reply