Rebbe Yechiel of Alexander and the son who was to succeed him as the Alexander Rebbe, Rabbi Yisrael Yitzchak, were in an isolated village where they had gone for a health retreat. In the middle of the night, the father suddenly took ill and was in danger of his life. There was no doctor for many miles around. The tzadik thought his end was near, and wept, whereupon his son embraced him and swore that no harm would befall him.

Then he left his father for a few moments, walked out into the thick of the forest and cried out: "Master of the Universe! Is this what you do to the Rebbe of Alexander? In the forest, with no one at hand?! Do our Sages not teach us that "The Almighty cares for the honor of tzadikim?"

He quickly returned to his father and found him feeling better.

"How were you able to swear?" asked Reb Yechiel.

"I relied on the words of Reb Yisrael of Ruzhin," answered his son. "In the book of Psalms, King David pleads: 'How long will You hide Your face from me? How long shall I take counsel in my soul?' (Psalms 1:13) These words the tzadik of Ruzhin reads as a question and an answer, as follows: 'How long will You hide Your face from me?' And the supplicant answers his own question: 'So long as I can take counsel in my soul.' That is to say, when the supplicant can do nothing whatever to remedy his situation, and help can come from G‑d alone, in such a time the Almighty cannot hide His face.

"And here, out in the middle of a forest, when there was no way in which we could possibly take counsel and help ourselves, and no one could help us but G‑d alone, I was perfectly certain that no harm would befall us. So that is why I swore as I did."

Adapted by Yerachmiel Tilles from the rendition in "A Treasury of Chassidic Tales" (Artscroll), as translated by R. Uri Kaploun from Sipurei Chasidim by Rabbi S. Y. Zevin.

Biographical note:
Rabbi Yerachmiel Yisrael Yitzchak Danziger of Alexander [1853 - 29 Tevet 1910] was a popular Chasidic leader in Poland of a wide range of followers. His book Yismach Yisrael is studied by many different Chasidic groups.

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