Rabbi Tzvi Hirsh of Ziditchov had no sons, but his four younger brothers and three of their sons were all very special.

Once, a little nephew of his became gravely ill. Everyone in the extended family was praying for him. Nevertheless, his condition grew worse from day to day. Rabbi Alexander Sender, the rebbe’s brother and the child’s father, was distraught.

One night, the doctor feared that the end was near.

The situation grew so critical that late one night, the doctor feared that the end was near.

The rebbe was accustomed to devote the late hours to holy study and prayer. No one ever disturbed the rebbe when he secluded himself in his attic room, shutting the entire world out of his consciousness to concentrate on his sublime thoughts. But if the rebbe was not told now, it might be too late . . .

The rebbe’s brothers—the sick boy’s father and uncles—thought and thought. Whom could they send to disturb the rebbe without incurring his wrath? They finally decided to send Yehudah Tzvi, the rebbe’s favorite nephew, who later in life also became one of the rebbe’s successors.

With a small lantern in his hand, the lad climbed up the narrow staircase leading to the attic where his uncle secluded himself. When he reached the door, he hesitated and then coughed.

The rebbe heard, rose and went to open the door. Nu?” he asked.

Little Yehuda Tzvi beamed up at his saintly uncle, his cherubic face aglow. “I have come to tell you good news, Feter (Uncle)! Your nephew is feeling better! But you still must pray for his complete recovery!”

The rebbe beamed with joy, and motioned to the boy to enter his study. He then went over to a cupboard and took out some herbs. He put them in a small paper bag and handed it to the boy. “Tell your aunt to boil this up into a tea and give it to the child while it is still hot. It will make him sweat, and he will get better!”

The tea was made and given to the patient, spoon by spoon.

The little boy thanked him and rushed out of the room, down the stairs and straight to his uncle, R. Sender Lipa, with his instructions. The tea was made and given to the patient, spoon by spoon. Within hours he had passed the crisis and recovered completely!

The next morning R. Alexander Sender went to his elder brother to tell him that his son had recovered.

The tzaddik looked sternly at him and said, “You can learn a lesson in chassidut from your nephew, Yehuda Tzvi. You, with your long face and worried looks, only increased my own anxiety and suffering. But that little boy knew exactly what to do to change my mood to a happy one. And once my spirits were lifted, I felt divine intuition returning to me, and I knew at once what to do to bring about the patient’s recovery!”

Connection to Weekly Torah Reading: Jacob’s numbness and then joy (45:25–27)


Adapted and supplemented by Yerachmiel Tilles from Tales of Tzaddikim (ArtScroll), by G. MaTov.

Biographic notes:
Rabbi Tzvi Hirsh Eichenstein [1763–11 Tammuz 1831], founder of the Zhidachov dynasty, was a prominent disciple of the Seer of Lublin. He championed the position that the practice of Chasidism had to be firmly based on the study of the Kabbalah of the holy Ari of Safed. He wrote and published numerous commentaries on Kabbalah, including Ateret Tzvi on the Zohar, and several on the weekly readings. Malbim was a student of his. He was succeeded by three nephew-disciples, including R. Yitzchak Isaac of Zhidachov and R. Yitzchak Isaac Yehudah Yechiel of Komarno.

Rabbi Yehudah Tzvi of Rozdol [?–7 Cheshvan 1848] was the nephew and son-in-law of Rabbi Tzvi Hirsh of Zhidachov. He was recognized by the chassidim of his father-in-law, and highly thought of by the other rebbes of his generation. His two most famous books are Daat Kedoshim on the weekly readings, and Amud Hatorah.

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