Once a month, on the eve of Rosh Chodesh, it was the custom of Rebbe Menachem Mendel of Rimanov to send out two supervisors to all the shops in town to see whether the weights and measures being used were sound. One of those sent on a certain occasion was Reb Zvi Hirsch, his faithful attendant and disciple, who later would become the successor to his rebbe. Arriving with his partner at the shop of a certain wealthy businessman who had once dabbled in scholarship, he found an undersized liquid measure. When Reb Zvi Hirsch rebuked him for his carelessness, the shopkeeper answered that it was not used for measuring.

...he found an undersized liquid measure.

"But there is an explicit law on the subject," said Reb Zvi Hirsch. "Our Sages teach us that a man is forbidden to have an oversized or undersized measure in his house, even if it is used as a pail for garbage." (see Deut. 25:13-16)

The shopkeeper’s retort was brazen. Borrowing a phrase remembered from the Book of Samuel, he asked: "‘Is Saul also one of the prophets!?’ Does our Reb Zvi Hirsch also go about laying down the Law?"

In reaction to this, Reb Zvi Hirsch took the measure in hand and trampled on it.

When he returned from his day’s rounds and was asked by the rebbe if everything was in order, Reb Zvi Hirsch concealed that incident, being afraid that the wrath of the rebbe would be kindled against the arrogant offender. But Reb Menachem Mendel got to hear of the story from the man who accompanied him.

...he was to ignore the house of that offender.

He immediately instructed his shammes to announce that the townsmen should all assemble in the synagogue to hear a sermon, but though he was to knock with his cane on all the shutters according to custom, he was to ignore the house of that offender.

The shopkeeper heard that the rebbe was speaking on the subject of weights and measures, and realized that this whole tempest was brought about on his account. He went to the synagogue of his own accord, and as a sign of contriteness removed his shoes in preparation for begging forgiveness of the tzaddik. Reb Menachem Mendel promised to forgive him on condition that by way of a fine he undertake to donate fifty gold ducats to charity.

Before the shopkeeper arrived at the synagogue to humbly make amends, someone noticed that the lips of Reb Zvi Hirsch were muttering something. Asked what he was saying, he replied: "Only a little prayer that the man should not be punished before he comes to make peace with the rebbe."

Adapted by Yerachmiel Tilles from A Treasury of Chassidic Tales (Artscroll), as translated by Uri Kaploun.

Biographical notes:
Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Rimminov [?-19 Iyar 1815] was an important Rebbe in the third generation of hassidism. His was a main disciple of the Rebbe Elimelech, and many rebbes of the succeeding generation studied with him. His teachings are collected in Menachem Zion and other works.

Rabbi Zvi Hirsh of Rimminov [1778-29 Cheshvan 1847] was the attendant of the well-known Rebbe, R. Menachem Mendel of Rimminov, and subsequently his successor. He had a reputation as a miracle worker. Some of his teachings are collected in Mevasser Tov and in Be’erot HaMayim.

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