R’ Nisan was the beloved Torah teacher of the children in Charki, Belarus.

As a devoted disciple of the Baal Shem Tov, he was used to fulfilling missions for his Rebbe. At one visit, the Baal Shem Tov handed him a sealed envelope and instructed:

“When Count Radziwill comes to Charki for his annual hunting trip, you are to open this envelope and follow the instructions it contains. He is usually accompanied by his lifelong friend Pierre Louis, who was born a Jew. On the following day, after you've done what the letter tells you, you are to tell Pierre Louis he is a Jew and that his pious mother saw to it that he had a brit milah and was named after her grandfather, Pesach Tzvi. It was his father, on the other hand, who wanted him to grow up not even knowing he was a Jew and sent him to the French boarding school where he met Count Radziwill. You are to tell him it is time to return to his people.”

R’ Nisan returned home, and in due course the count arrived for his hunting trip which was the talk of town. On the first day, he and his entourage went out, but when they returned a terrible calamity occurred.

The count had stopped for a few drinks following the long day on the hunt, and upon entering his lodgings, he stumbled and tripped over the threshold. The gun he was carrying went off, and the bullet pierced his shoulder. All the doctors in the area were called to tend to him but to no avail. His condition continued to worsen.

The next day, as promised, R’ Nisan opened the Baal Shem Tov’s envelope. Much to his surprise it contained instructions for treating a bullet wound, after which he was to tell the count that the cure had come from the Baal Shem Tov and that he should be kind and fair to the Jews of the region.

He quickly formulated the medicine per the instructions and made his way to the count’s lodgings, informing them that he could cure the visiting noble. Pierre Louis refused to let him enter, questioning his credentials. The physician, however, said that whatever he tried couldn’t hurt as there was nothing else the doctors could do to save the count.

R’ Nisan proceeded to administer the medication prescribed by the Baal Shem Tov, and by afternoon the count was showing significant signs of improvement. The count and his entire entourage were full of gratitude. R’ Nisan informed them that the cure was from the holy Baal Shem Tov and that he instructed the count to be good to the Jews in his jurisdiction. He then gave Pierre Louis the Rebbe’s message: You were born a Jew, your name is Pesach Tzvi and it is time to return to your Jewish heritage.

When the count had fully recovered, they left Charki.

Several weeks later, R’ Nisan heard a knock at his door. There stood Pierre Louis, who introduced himself as Pesach Tzvi.

He told R’ Nisan that he had not had any peace of mind since hearing the Baal Shem Tov’s message. He shared this with his dear friend the count and they both agreed that he should return to the Jewish community in Charki. R’ Nisan arranged for a personal tutor, and within a short time Pesach Tzvi had learned to pray as a Jew and could even study some Torah.

The count, for his part, gave a land grant to his friend and even gifted him the land upon which the homes of all the Jews of Charki were built, in fulfillment of the Baal Shem Tov’s request. After this incident, the entire town of Charki became ardent supporters of the Baal Shem Tov.

(From Memoirs of the Previous Rebbe, pg. 29-37)

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