The situation looked bleak. For months on end, the heavens had been hermetically sealed, with nary a drop of rain in sight. For Reb Aharon Safir, his brother Reb Yitzchak, and their partner Reb Moshe Shwartz, this spelled certain financial ruin.

The three were loggers, spending the spring and summer months in the Polish forests, chopping down trees. When the season drew to an end, they and their crew would tie the logs together in large rafts and send them downstream on the giant Vistula River, where they would float along until they reached the big industrial factories in the port city of Danzig (known as Gdansk in Poland).

That’s how it was every year. But this year, with a totally dry season, the normally majestic Vistula was parched and low. The water wasn’t deep enough, nor the current strong enough to carry the enormous logs along the long winding path to Danzig. Giant piles of logs lay strewn all over the forest floor, hopelessly waiting for the rain that simply refused to come.

Reb Aharon and Reb Yitzchak were devout Chassidim; Reb Moshe, not so much. With no other possible recourse, the brothers decided to pay a visit to their Rebbe, the esteemed and saintly sage, Rabbi Yechezkel Shraga Halberstam, the Shinover Rebbe. Reb Moshe passed, opting to stay in his hometown of Zhikov instead.

When the brothers arrived in Shinova, they hurried into the Rebbe’s chamber and threw themselves before him with a desperate plea. “Rebbe, please help us! Our entire life’s fortune lies at stake and the rafts won’t budge! Please, pray to G‑d to bring us blessed rain!”

“You want me to bring rain?” the Rebbe replied in surprise. “Am I G‑d? The Talmud tells us that G‑d holds three keys tightly in His hands—and one of them is rain! What do you expect from me?!”

“But Rebbe, you must help us,” they insisted. “It’s not just our personal fortunes at stake. Our bankruptcy would cause a tremendous desecration of G‑d’s name and impact the lives of so many others. Due to our stellar business records, hundreds of average Jewish families invested their fortunes with us, eagerly awaiting their returns when the logs arrive in Danzig and our vendors pay us. If we go under, we take them with us!

“And Rebbe, think of all the vendors who will be furious at us, Jewish merchants. The landowners from whom we leased the forested woods, the merchants in Danzig expecting our logs, not to mention the hard-working loggers who sweated away deep in the forests. Please, Rebbe, you must help us!”

Moved by their passionate pleas, the Rebbe relented. “You know what? Stay here for Shabbat, and let’s see what can be done after Shabbat.”

When Shabbat ended, the brothers returned to the Rebbe.

“I must tell you,” the Rebbe began, “I insist that rain is beyond my realm and is in G‑d’s hands alone. But there is something I can help you with: I have a personal tradition from my revered teacher, the Seer of Lublin, that anyone who helps the descendants of the saintly Rabbi Elimelech of Lizhensk will merit immediate salvation.

“And what do you know? Right here, in my home, lives a poor orphan whom we’ve raised since she was a young child—and she is from the family of Rabbi Elimelech. Alas, my wife and I lack the funds to properly marry her off. So if you commit to underwriting all of her wedding expenses, I assure you that before the week is out, the Vistula will still flow.”

That was all the pious brothers needed to hear. Without batting an eyelash, they pulled out whatever cash they had on hand, more than enough to pay for the wedding and then some.

The Rebbe accepted the money, and the brothers set off back to the forests to take care of business. In the meantime, they sent a message ahead to their third partner, Reb Moshe, to prepare the logs for passage.

To his credit, Reb Moshe followed their orders despite his skepticism, and his workers immediately started preparing the logs for travel. The laborers sweated and grunted as they collected massive piles of twenty-five logs apiece, and bound them with thick rope.

All the while, the other merchants and loggers laughed at them. “The sky is blue like the sea, the air thick like a blanket, what are you doing?!” they taunted. “You’re wasting your time. It’s not going to rain anytime soon!”

But the three partners paid no attention to their mockery, confident in the tzadik’s blessing that before the week was out, rain would come. And sure enough, Friday started like every other day of the week: hot and bright. But as the day wore on, the skies turned a dark gray, thunder clapped, lightning flashed—and sweet, sweet rain roiled the earth with a vengeance.

All the logs in the forest were pulled into the raging river chaotically, smashing into each other and the banks to the point that they were rendered useless. Only the sturdily bound piles of Safir and Shwartz were peacefully lifted off the ground and sent blissfully downstream to their final destination, their trust in the tzadik’s blessing vindicated.