Rabbi Dovber Schneuri, known as the Mitteler Rebbe, was known for his penchant for joyfulness. He even had a group of chassidim who formed a kapelye (choir), and another group who were trained to perform tricks on horseback. On special, joyous occasions, he would ask these groups to perform, and he would stand on his balcony watching. The rebbe’s son Reb Nochum happened to be one of these horsemen.

Once, for no apparent reason, the rebbe suddenly instructed both of these groups to perform. This was extremely unusual. Yet the chassidim performed while the rebbe stood in his usual spot and watched the horsemen carefully.

Suddenly the rebbe’s son Reb Nochum fell off of his horse. Informed that his son was in grave danger, the rebbe merely motioned with his hand to continue the festivities.

After a while the rebbe asked them to stop, and stepped into his private office.

A doctor was summoned, and Reb Nochum’s situation proved far less severe than previously thought. He had broken a leg, but no more.

The rebbe was then asked why he had told the horsemen and choir to continue with their performance while his beloved son lay injured.

He responded, “Why don’t you ask me an even better question: why did I ask the horsemen and the choir to perform on a simple weekday in the first place?”

The rebbe explained: “Today was meant to be a harsh day for my son. I saw a grave accusation against him in the heavenly court. The prosecution was very powerful, and I could see only one way out: joy sweetens the attribute of severity. So I therefore called upon the choir to sing, and asked the riders to gladden everyone with their antics.

“The joy thus created tempered the strict decree against my son, but a small portion of the decree remained. That is why he fell off his horse and hurt his leg. However, the continued revelry lessened even this residual decree. G‑d willing, Nochum will recover in the very near future.”1