It was a sad story that this penniless chassid brought to his rebbe, Rabbi Shlomo of Radomsk: his daughter was of marriageable age, and he did not know where to begin to find all the money needed for a dowry and a wedding. All this was written out in the note which he handed the rebbe.

The tzadik read it through, and exclaimed: "What is this I read here about your being 'a poor man'?! You had better leave my house at once, for our Sages teach us that 'a pauper is accounted as if dead,' and I am a kohen, one of the priestly family, who may not be defiled by exposure to the dead!"

The man ran out from sheer fright, but the tzadik called after him: "Come now, come now! This must surely be a case of a met mitzvah, a dead body which can be attended to by no one else, in which case a kohen is allowed to defile himself."

Those present laughed at the seeming jests, little suspecting that there were more to come. The tzadik addressed himself another time to the poor fellow: "You are worrying about marrying off your daughter. Tell me: do you have bread to eat?"

"To tell the truth," stammered the pauper, "I haven't."

"But you do say the Hamotzi benediction over bread every day, don't you? So where do you get the bread for that?"

"Most of it comes from my wife; she works, and earns a little."

"What a fine business!" cried the rebbe. "His wife supports him! Shouldn't we be warned by the example of Adam, whose wife gave him something to eat? And this fellow says that his wife supports him! Tell me: in what way does your wife earn her income?"

"She goes to all the courtyards [in Hebrew: chatseirot] of the aristocrats in the area, sells vegetables and whatever, and earns a little from that," the pauper replied.

"If so," said the tzadik, "we have a verse in the Torah [Deut 1:1] which lists place-names, and there it says 'chatserot vadiy zahav': that if she goes to chatseirot, she will no doubt encounter vadaiy zahav [literally, "ample gold"]. Go home in peace, my good man, and the Almighty will help you, and your wife will prosper with vadaiy zahav."

But when he came home and his wife asked him what he had brought back from the rebbe, he did not know what to answer.

After some time his wife came home with a package, and said: "Look here. Today I found this thing lying about in the mud."

They opened it, and found three hundred rubles — quite a sum in those days. Half of it they set aside for their daughter's dowry and the wedding expenses and with the rest the happy man set up a little business in which he prospered for the rest of his life.

After the passing of Rabbi Shlomo of Radomsk, this chasid came to visit his son and successor as rebbe, Rabbi Avraham Yissachar, and told him the above episode.

"My father," said the tzadik, "was a remarkable man. Every expression of his supernatural powers and his divine inspiration he managed to clothe in jests and witticisms, so that no one should detect that there was anything extraordinary afoot."

Adapted from the rendition in A Treasury of Chassidic Tales (Artscroll), as translated by our esteemed colleague Uri Kaploun from Sipurei Chasidim by Rabbi S. Y. Zevin.

Biographic note:
Rabbi Shlomo HaKohen Rabinowitz of Radomsk [1803-29 Adar 1866] was the author of Tiferet Shlomo. His speaking ability and musical voice, and his divine inspiration, attracted thousands of chasidic followers

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