The chassidim were gathered around the table of the Maggid of Mezeritch, Reb DovBer, as he told a story of his rebbe, the holy Baal Shem Tov.

“It was an uneventful Shabbat by the Baal Shem Tov,” began the Maggid, “until the conclusion.”

The Maggid continued: Immediately after the conclusion of the evening prayers—still before havdalah—a woman rushed in to the room where the Baal Shem Tov and his chassidim had concluded their prayers.

“You’ve got to help me, Rebbe!” she cried out. “I am in desperate need of funds to marry off my daughter, and I have nowhere left to turn!”

The Baal Shem Tov heard her out, and then directed his chassidim to reach their hands in to their pockets and give whatever money they found there for this worthy cause. Amazingly, the funds they came up with were the exact amount that the woman said she needed.

“Tell me,” the Maggid concluded the story, “what is the lesson to be gleaned from this story of our master the Baal Shem Tov?”

One chassid offered his thought: “This story shows the miraculous powers of the Baal Shem Tov. Even though it was impossible that anyone would have money in their pockets—for Shabbat had ended just moments earlier—the Baal Shem Tov performed this miracle to help this poor woman.”

“To show us the Baal Shem Tov’s power to perform miracles,” the Maggid pronounced, “we have many stories. We do not need this specific story.”

Another chassid spoke up: “But this was a double miracle: not only did the Baal Shem Tov make the money appear miraculously, but it was the exact amount—to the kopek.”

Again the Maggid said that there are no lack of stories demonstrating amazing and doubly amazing miracles performed by the Baal Shem Tov.

A third chassid suggested: “That the Baal Shem Tov can make wondrous miracles occur—that is obvious. However, the Baal Shem Tov could have made all the money appear in his pocket, thus performing this important mitzvah by himself. Yet because of his tremendous love of his fellow, he wanted to share the mitzvah, and thus made money appear in the pockets of all those present. That, I think, is the message of the story.”

“May I suggest,” the Maggid said, “that this story is not about the Baal Shem Tov at all. I think that the story is truly about the greatness of his disciples. Even though Shabbat had just ended and none of them had any money with them, they nevertheless inserted their hands in their pockets, following the directive of their rebbe with complete faith and trust . . .”