The town of Skver in Europe was in a happy turmoil, for they had a distinguished guest. Rabbi Yochanan of Rachmistrivka was visiting his elder brother, Rabbi Yitzchak, the Skverer Rebbe. Everyone was excited.

R. Yitzchak sent his shamash to fetch a bottle of special wine that came all the way from Eretz Yisrael (the Land of Israel). This wine was used on special occasions only.

But, when the wine was served, R. Yochanan refused to taste it, and preferred the local product. His brother was surprised, as were all those present. This wine had been brought especially for him. And it came all the way from the Holy Land!

When pressed to give an explanation, R. Yochanan said, “I am no connoisseur of wines. I cannot tell a vintage wine from a common wine. Therefore, I am afraid that if I were to taste the wine from Eretz Yisrael and not appreciate it properly, or see anything special in it, I would be guilty of sinning, for one must not disparage the fruits of the Holy Land!”

Connection to Weekly Torah Reading: the special fruits, grains and wines of the Land.

Adapted by Yerachmiel Tilles from Tales of Tzaddikim (ArtScroll)

Biographical notes:
Rabbi Yitzchak Twerski (1812–17 Nissan 1885), also known as Reb Itzikl, the first rebbe of Skver, was one of the eight sons of Rabbi Mordechai of Chernobyl. (Today, the Skverer chassidim are famous for the entire town of their own, New Square, which they incorporated in upstate New York.)

Rabbi Yochanan Twerski (1816–4 Nissan 1895), the first Rachmistrivka rebbe, was known for his humility. He was the last of the eight sons of Rabbi Mordechai of Chernobyl to pass away, and was highly respected among the righteous of the generation.

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