Once, Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi, known as the Alter Rebbe, came to a small town. During his short stay in that town, a fire broke out in one of the wooden houses. The local firemen had a hard time keeping the fire under control, and soldiers from a garrison stationed nearby came to help extinguish it. But a strong wind fanned the flames and sparks were flying in the air, threatening to set the whole town ablaze.

Several worried townspeople came to the saintly Rebbe and told him of the danger. Rabbi Schneur Zalman asked to be shown where the fire was, and he was led to the blazing house. He stood there for a few moments, leaning on his walking cane, and gazing intensely at the blaze. Suddenly, the wind stopped and the fire began to subside. Within a few moments the fire was brought under control, and everybody breathed a sigh of relief. The town was saved! Everybody talked excitedly about the wonderful miracle which was brought about by the saintly Rebbe.

The soldiers returning to their barracks told their general of the miracle that the saintly Rabbi performed before their very eyes. The general sent his orderly to ask the Rabbi to appear before him.

The general greeted Rabbi Schneur Zalman with respect and reverence. "Are you, perhaps, a son or a grandson of the saintly Rabbi Israel Baal Shem Tov?" the general asked him.

"I am indeed his "grandson," but in a spiritual sense, for I am a disciple of his disciple," the Alter Rebbe replied.

"Well, then I was not wrong in my conclusion, and I am not at all surprised that you should have supernatural power." Saying this, the general brought out a leather-bound volume, and pointing to it, he continued:

"Let me tell you a wonderful thing that happened to my late father, which he recorded here in his diary. It happened when my father was stationed with his troops near the town of Mezhibozh. He had received no word from his wife for a long time, and he was very worried. Seeing how troubled the general was, some of his friends said to him: 'There lives in this town a saintly Rabbi, who is known as the Master of the Good Name. People tell wonderful things about him, and say that there is nothing hidden from him. Why not go and see this saintly man?'

"My father, the general, decided that there was nothing he could lose by seeing that saintly man, and he sent his orderly to the Baal Shem Tov to arrange a time to visit him.

"The orderly returned and told my father that the Baal Shem Tov said he was too busy. This infuriated my father. He sent the orderly back again to the Baal Shem Tov to tell him that if he refused to see him, he (my father) would billet his soldiers in the Jewish houses, and there would not be a single Jewish home which would not have to provide food and lodging for one or more soldiers.

"This threat was very serious, for not only were the Jews of the town poor and unable to afford the burden, but it was also close to the Jewish festival of Passover, and the soldiers would bring chometz into the Jewish homes! But when the orderly returned, he brought the answer that although the saintly Rabbi is too busy, a time had nevertheless been fixed for my father's visit!

"Promptly at the appointed time, my father and his orderly came to the house of the Baal Shem Tov. Through an open door leading from the living room, they saw the saintly Baal Shem Tov sitting in his study, his head bent over a book. By force of habit, my father went up to a small mirror hanging on the wall to smooth his hair. As he looked into the mirror, a strange sight unfolded before his eyes. Instead of seeing a reflection of his own face, he saw a familiar road, the road leading to his own home town. Not believing his eyes, and thinking that his imagination was playing tricks on him, he called his orderly to the mirror. The orderly was no less amazed. Presently, the road seemed to pass by them, and they found themselves on the familiar street where the general lived. The door of the house opened and my father saw his wife sitting at her desk writing a letter. As if looking over her shoulder, they saw that she was writing a letter to him! In it she begged him to excuse her for not writing for so long, for she was occupied with the pregnancy and birth of his new child-a boy! Both she and the baby are fine, and she longed for him to come home and see his son!

"You can imagine how excited my father became. Forgetting where he was, he rushed back to his quarters, and there, on his desk, was a letter for him from his wife. He opened it and read it over again and again. It was exactly what he had seen in the mirror in the Baal Shem Tov's house!

"I am that baby about whom my mother wrote to my father in that letter! You can see the whole story recorded by my father in his diary."

Concluding his amazing story, the general asked the saintly Rebbe to bless him.

"Be good to the Jews, and the Almighty will bless you," the Rebbe replied, "for so it is written in the Torah: 'They that bless you [Abraham] shall be blessed.'"