A desperately ill chassid, whose visits to dozens of doctors seemed unable to help him, sought out Reb Mordechai of Neshchiz in quest of a blessing and sound advice. The tzaddik’s counsel was simple enough: “Consult the professor in the town of Hanipoli. He will cure you.”

Now in those days, of course, there was no railway line in the backwoods of the Ukraine, but the ailing chassid spared no effort, and hired a wagon-driver for the long and arduous journey across the marshes to Hanipoli.

“Where does your professor live?” he asked the townsfolk on arrival.

“A professor?” they mused. “In Hanipoli?!”

“Then your doctor: where does your doctor live?”

“But we’ve never had a doctor in Hanipoli,” they assured him.

“Then at least a nursing attendant, perhaps?”

But even a nursing attendant was not to be found. The chassid was dumbfounded. How could the saintly tzaddik of Neshchiz have uttered words so far removed from the truth? But then again, what was there to do? So, full of regrets about his waste of time, trouble and expense, he journeyed all the long way back to Neshchiz, and told the rebbe his doleful tale: that in all of Hanipoli there was no professor, no doctor—nothing.

“Tell me, then, my good man,” asked the tzaddik, “what do these people in Hanipoli do if one of them (G‑d forbid) falls sick?”

“Do? What can they do? I suppose they have no option but to trust in the Almighty, and ask Him to be merciful and heal them from heaven.”

“That’s him!” exclaimed the tzaddik. “That’s the professor of Hanipoli that I referred you to! . . . And He Who helps the townsfolk of Hanipoli will surely help you, too.”

And so it was. No sooner did the chassid leave that room than he felt his health returning to him, and after some time he was completely cured.

Reproduced from A Treasury of Chassidic Tales by Rabbi S. Y. Zevin, with permission of the copyright holders, ArtScroll /Mesorah Publications, Ltd.