With three daughters to marry off and not one wretched kopek in the cottage with which to begin to put together dowries and weddings, the wife of Mordecai of Pintchov nagged him incessantly to describe their woeful situation to his rebbe, the Chozeh (Seer) of Lublin. Time after time he would travel to Lublin, but never once did he mention his troubles to the rebbe, because on arriving there he would forget them completely. Being a practical woman, his wife decided to say nothing more, but to make the journey there by a separate wagon immediately after he had left home.

'Why did you never mention this until now?' asked the Seer….

When Reb Mordecai arrived in Lublin, he was confronted by the fact of his wife's presence. There was no way out, and he told the rebbe what the state of affairs was at home.

"Why did you never mention this until now?" asked the Seer.

"Rebbe," answered the chasid, "I assumed that my situation would be known to you through the divine inspiration that rests upon you."

"Not so," answered the rebbe. "In the case of plagues of the soul the Torah says: 'A man in the skin of whose flesh there shall be… a plague of tzaraat shall be brought to Aaron the kohen…and the kohen shall see the plague.' That is to say: As soon as the ailing man is brought before him, the kohen will discern the malady himself, without being told. In the case of plagues that affect houses, however, the Torah teaches us otherwise: 'And he who owns the house shall come and tell the kohen, saying: Something like a plague seems to be in the house,' From this we see that with plagues that affect houses, the needs of a household, one is obliged to come to the kohen and speak up and tell him of them…."

Editor’s note:

This is the beginning of a much longer story. The full saga is story #468 on our Ascent site (www.AscentOfSafed.com) and can be viewed there.

Based on Sippurei Chassidim by Rabbi S. Y. Zevin and other oral sources.

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