Shabbos Stories

One Good Deed


Story of the Rebbe
One Good Deed

  This story was related by Rabbi Grossman:

In 1974, the Rebbe began a campaign to have all women and girls light Shabbos candles. Soon after, I had the privilege of having a Yechidus with the Rebbe. I wrote down the names of my family members and asked the Rebbe to give them a blessing. Among the names were, of course, the names of my two little daughters. When the Rebbe reached my three-year-old daughter.s name, he asked me if she lit Shabbos Candles. I told the Rebbe that she did. The Rebbe then asked me how old she was when she started to light candles, and I answered that she had started as soon as the news came that the Rebbe wanted little girls to light candles. 

The Rebbe took a dollar from the drawer and told me: .Please give this dollar to your youngest daughter, as a present in my name. Tell her it's for the joy she brings me when she lights Shabbos Candles. Also ask her, in my name, to convince one of her friends to light Shabbos Candles as well. 

A non-observant family lived next door to us. Their little daughter often played with our daughters. When my daughter heard the Rebbe.s message, she talked to her about lighting candles, and in no time at all, our neighbors were lighting candles every Shabbos. 

Two weeks later, the girl's mother approached my wife. She wanted to know how to use a Shabbos clock for the lights and a hot plate for warming food on Shabbos. She explained that she had found it hard to live with the fact that her daughter lit candles every Shabbos, while she, her mother, didn.t, and so she also began to light candles on Shabbos eve. But she felt uncomfortable because before Shabbos she lit candles, yet on Shabbos she turned lights on and off! That's why she had come to learn how to operate a Shabbos clock, so that she would be able to keep Shabbos! From then on they came to Shul on Shabbos, ate a Shabbos meal and kept Shabbos the way it should be. They enrolled their daughter in a Jewish school, learned to observe the Mitzvos, and returned to Judaism. Today, thanks to the Rebbe, the whole family observes the Torah and all the Mitzvos. 

All this resulted from a single act . the lighting of one candle on Shabbos eve! As our Sages said: "One Mitzvah leads to another Mitzvah" (Avos 4:2) and "A little light dispels a lot of darkness".

let's pray and love our way out of the new middle east crisis and into the Garden of Eden‏

let's pray and love our way out of the new middle east crisis and into the Garden of Eden‏ 

based (with my interpretations) on a thought from Rabbi A I Kook from 1931, and from Rabbi Simin Jacobsen today
and - of course - from the Rebbe Rabbi Carlebach!

Rabbi Kook wrote (in his book Orot) that we must love all of G-d's creatures or else the Gan Eden - Garden of Eden in Heaven - cannot be at peace.

Rabbi Jacobsen writes about this new rocket-missile-war "After a rather lengthy sleep we have suddenly been jolted back to reality with the latest conflagration in the Middle East. ...

We children of the West, born in freedom, have been spoiled by the façade of our many distractions that have allowed us the luxury of denial of the stark battles of good and evil, creating an illusion of false security.

Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach said many times:
if you hit children you will turn off their souls...

and he said
In 1967 after the 6-Day-War I went to the old city and wanted to hug every Arab and tell them we are brothers .... but not everyone was behind me

so what do you do with the terrorists?

pray pray pray

and - LOVE and learn with love THE TORAH

because Rabbi Carlebach said
Isaac blessed Jacob because he SMELLED THE HEAVENLY SMELL OF THE GARDEN OF EDEN when Jacob walked in for the BLESSING - because he SMELLED OF LOVE OF TOTAL LOVE OF TORAH AND there is nothing else that can fix the world!

Gutt Shabbos

Rabbi Andy Eichenholz


Shabbos’ Light

Shabbos’ Light

It was nearly Shabbos, and unbearable poverty prevailed in the Chozeh’s home. Not having even the few perutot (pennies) with which to buy Shabbos candles, the Chozeh’s wife went out to the main street and prayed that she find someone who would donate what she needed for that purpose

Suddenly, an elegant carriage, drawn by mighty steeds, passed by and she asked its stylishly dressed passenger for help..

“What can I do for you?” he asked.

“Please give me two coins for Shabbos candles,” she pleaded.

The passenger was a Jew, who had long ago forgotten his Jewish roots, and was on his way to make merry with his non-Jewish friends. When he heard the Rebbetzin’s request, he quickly gave her the coins. The Rebbetzin then blessed the generous man whose carriage was far off by then, that on the merit of his help, Shabbos' light glow on him.

During kiddush, the soul of the Chozeh of Lublin went up to Heaven, and was asked: “The Rebbetzin blessed that man with meriting Shabbos’ light. But he is so crass, that he doesn’t deserve it. What do you think of that?”

The Chozeh replied: “You say that he doesn’t deserve Shabbos’ light because he is so gross.. But maybe he is crass because he lacks Shabbos’ light. If you give him that light, perhaps he will become more refined.”

That Shabbos night, the Chozeh and his students sat at the table, singing stirring songs and relating Torah thoughts. In the middle, a stranger entered and sat down at the edge of the table. He was the Jew who had given the Rebbetzin the coins. Suddenly he had felt a tremendous light shining on him – Shabbos’ light. No one paid attention to his sporty, non-Jewish attire. Instead, all focused on his face which glowed with the radiance of Shabbos kodesh. He had come there in order to be in the Chozeh’s presence, and soon became one of his ardent followers.

----- Original Message -----

The Baba Sali Blesses a Soldier

The Baba Sali Blesses a Soldier

A young soldier was injured during the Yom Kippur War, and after a number of operations was still unable to move one of his legs. The condition of that leg so deteriorated, that he feared it had be amputated. In the meantime, he was in a wheelchair, and was very depressed over his situation.
His friends suggested that he go to Netivot for a blessing from Harav Yisrael Abuchatzira, the Baba Sali. The soldier, who was far from Torah observance, was reluctant to go. But his friends encouraged him and told him many stories about miracles which had occurred on the merit of that tzaddik.

Convinced, the soldier went to the tzaddik’s home and told him about his injury and the problem with his leg. The tzaddik listened to his story and asked him if he laid tefillin every day.

“No," the soldier replied.

“Do you keep Shabbos?” the tzaddik continued.

“No,” the soldier said.

“If that is so”, the Rav said in surprise, “you must thank Hashem that one foot is healthy! We derive our strength from Hashem, and if we don't do His will, He can take away what he gave us, and totally paralyze us. Since you don’t observe Torah and mitzvot, your healthy leg is a free gift.”

Hearing this, the soldier burst into bitter tears, stirring all those in the room. Looking the soldier in his eyes, the Rav asked him: “If I bless you with a complete recovery, and you are able to stand on your feet, will you be prepared to accept Torah’s yoke?”

“Yes,” the soldier replied.

”If so, give me your hand,” Harav Abuchatzira then said, “and I will bless you with a complete recovery so that you will be able to serve Him.”

After the soldier kissed the Rav’s hand, those in the room told him to stand up. To his surprise, he managed to stand, and even to take a few steps without any help. Still stunned by the huge change in his situation, the soldier tried to walk faster, and soon found himself beside the Rav’s door. Then he jumped outside and looked for a public telephone. “The nearest one,” passersby told him “is in Yeshivat Ha’Negev.”

The soldier ran to the yeshiva, and with excitedly told his family what had happened in the Rav’s home. Those of the yeshiva students, who stood near the phone listened to his story in amazement. Joining hands, they broke into dance along with the soldier, who thanked Hashem for the great miracle.

The overjoyed soldier kept his promise and changed his lifestyle from top to bottom. He, though, wasn’t the only one who did teshuva at that time. Many who heard the story or had been present when the miracle had occurred did not forget it, and grew stronger in their faith and yir’at Shamayim (reverence).

Shabbos is Shabbos

Shabbos is Shabbos

The “Yerushalmi tzaddik” (the ”Righteous One of Jerusalem”), R’ Aryeh Levine, was known as “the Rabbi of the Prisoners” because he would visit Jews imprisoned by the British government, encouraging them and writing to them. They were primarily Jews who had been in the Underground, some of whom had been sentenced to death. He was famed and beloved for his good character traits, his modesty, his love for his fellow, and his many acts of kindness.

During the time of the Mandate, a number of stores owned by Jews remained open on Shabbos. Various rabbis and public activists tried to convince them to close their stores on Fridays before sunset, and in the end succeeded in their efforts. However the owner of one particular grocery store refused to comply with them. “True, honoring Shabbos is very important,” he said. “But on Shabbos I earn nicely and it’s a pity to close the store then.”

R’ Aryeh Levine heard about this, and was very pained by the man’s behavior. One Friday, R’ Aryeh donned Shabbos clothing earlier than usual, put on his shtreimel (a special Shabbos and holiday hat) and went to that grocery store long before sunset. When he entered the store, he quietly walked down the rows of shelves and watched the lively activity of the customers. Then he sat down on a chair and continued to observe them.

The grocer saw R’ Aryeh, but didn’t say a word to him, thinking that the elderly rav (rabbi) had stopped off in the store to rest on the way to the synagogue. However, as sunset neared, R’ Aryeh’s presence in the store made him feel a bit uncomfortable. Although the grocer continued to deal with his customers, every now and then he would glance at R’ Aryeh, who still sat there.

In the end, the grocer approached R’ Aryeh and said: “I see that you have been sitting here for quite a while. Do you feel well? Can I help you?”

R’ Aryeh rose and said: “I heard that you keep your store open on Shabbos. I know that a number of people spoke to you about this, but I wanted to personally see your situation. Now I know that it is very hard for you to close and to lose so much money. I really feel your pain. But what can I say – Shabbos is Shabbos.”

The grocer was sta;tred, and remained silent for a moment. Then his eyes filled with tears, and he thanked R’ Aryeh for having troubled to come all the way to the store in order to see his situation with his own eyes. He then warmly shook R’ Aryeh’s hand and said: “I promise to try my best to close the store on Shabbos.”

R’ Aryeh wished him a good Shabbos and went on his way. Not long afterwards, the grocer closed his store every week before Shabbos.

Silence in the Court

Silence in the Court

During the Holocaust, a Jewish woman was seized by the Nazis for the “crime” of trying to sneak a potato for her small son out of the kitchen. The Nazis decided to hold a staged trial against her. They brought three Jewish “judges” “to the court and appointed a Jewish “advocate” to defend her and a Jewish “prosecutor” to indict her. Since the Nazis were very orderly, they also appointed a Jewish stenographer to jot down the trial’s protocol.

The “judges” were told that according to the rules of the “game,” the punishment had to be no less than 50 whiplashes. The Jewish judges who were forced to follow the rules explained to the accused that if she fell at their feet and begged for mercy, her punishment would be reduced to only 25 whiplashes and if she was fortunate, she might thus remain alive.

The trial opened and the Jewish prosecutor claimed that the woman should receive the maximal punishment. The defender, though, asked for mercy for the woman, and tried to persuade the judges to pity her and to take into consideration the fact that she had a small child who needed her. Nonetheless the judges sentenced her to 50 whiplashes.

Everything worked in accordance with the Nazis set-up, and the judges waited for the accused to fall on her knees and play her role in the horrifying performance.  But she ruined it and changed the picture. Instead of begging for mercy and saving herself from death, she sealed her mouth.

“You have to cry,” one of the judges pleaded with her in a whisper. “The Germans don’t like their plans to be ruined. Cry  now!”

But she shook her head as if to say: “I know.” Then she continued to maintain her silence, as if out spite.

She was beaten 50 times.

Before returning her soul to her Maker, she told her small son: “You surely don’t understand why I remained silent. But don’t judge me unfavorably. My silence wasn’t caused by pride or by fear.  Did you notice that the stenographer who was supposed to record my words was Jewish? Do you know, my son, that today is Shabbos and that it is forbidden to write now? I remained silent in order not to cause a fellow Jew to desecrate Shabbos, especially not in my final moments on earth. Shalom, my son.”

The Steipler in the Russian Army

The Steipler in the Russian Army

During World War One, Russian soldiers burst into the yeshiva of the Steipler Rav and took him with them by force. Then they recruited him into the Russian army.

When he was in the army, he would encounter new difficulties each week regarding Shabbos observance in all its details and finer points, and would constantly search for means to avoid such situations.

Immediately after the morning roll call on the Steipler’s first Shabbos in the army, he asked his commanding officer to release him from all work on Shabbos. The officer who was startled by the Steipler’s so-called brashness took him aside and began to beat him.

“Do you think that you are in kindergarten or at home?” the officer fumed. “Here you do what you are told without questions.”

In the end, the officer agreed to let the Steipler keep Shabbos. However, the condition was that the Steipler would have to march down two long rows of soldiers, each one being permitted to beat the Steipler harshly.

The Steipler agreed to the terms, and the gloating officer immediately assembled tens of Kazak soldiers who eagerly volunteered for the task.

Years later, the Steipler related: “Despite the terrible pain I suffered as  I passed between the blood thirsty soldiers, the feeling of mesirat nefesh (dedication) for keeping the sacred Shabbos caused me the greatest spiritual satisfaction I  have ever experienced in my life.”

One of the   Shabbos nights on which the Steipler’s turn as guard of the camp occurred, was particularly cold. Those who guarded the camp on such nights were required to wear thick fur coats in order to protect themselves from the freezing temperatures. At the end of a shift, the guard who had been on duty would pass the coat to the one following him.

When the Steipler arrived for his shift, he discovered that the previous guard has left his post and had hung his fur coat on a tree beside the gate. However, since our sages ruled that it is forbidden to use a tree on Shabbos, or to remove something from it, the Steipler was in a predicament.

“True, it is life-endangering to remain a whole night in this freezing weather without a coat,” the Steipler reasoned. “But being fifteen minutes without a coat is not life-endangering.”

As a result, he did not fetch the coat, and remained without it for fifteen minutes. When that time passed, he told himself that he could survive another fifteen minutes without a coat.  In that manner fifteen minutes and then fifteen more minutes elapsed. The wind shrieked. The frost penetrated his bones; but he still didn’t fetch the coat, saying that he could manage yet another fifteen minutes.

Many hours passed until his shift ended, but the Steipler still hadn't fetched the coat. When it was over, he returned to his bunk, happy that he had been able to avoid Shabbos desecration.

A Parrot’s Word (from Eit Lachshov)

A Parrot’s Word (from Eit Lachshov)

The Abir family in Bnei Brak had a large, green and talkative parrot. When they first bought it, they taught it to say a number of words which suited their family. After being trained for a long time, the parrot learned to say “gut Shabbos” and “Shema Yisrael.” When asked how it felt, it would reply: “Boruch Hashem.”

One day, it flew about a mile away from the Abir home, and landed in an empty basketball lot. A man name Netanel Elchanan found it, and seeing that it was very weak decided to nurse it back to health. After a few weeks, the parrot recuperated and began to “talk.”

One morning, the parrot called out: “Shema Yisrael Hashem Elokeinu, Hashem Echod.” Netanel was astounded and didn’t believe what he had heard.

“Did the parrot really say Shema?” he asked himself.

Netanel’s question was soon answered when the parrot repeated the first verse of Shema Yisrael.”

This incident reoccurred for three days in a row, and Netanel was stunned. “Elisheva,” he said to his wife. “Imagine that. I never say Shema Yisrael, while this little creature recites it daily.”

Even though Netanel wasn’t religious, he was still familiar with the words of the Shema and the idea that a little bird, said them every day, while he didn’t, greatly disturbed him. He then told Elisheva that he wanted to pray in the local synagogue in order to recite Shema there that morning.

Elisheva encouraged him, and said: “Of course you should go to the synagogue. The parrot can say Shema at home. But only a Jew can go to the synagogue.”

Netanel went to the synagogue that morning, and felt so good there, that he returned the next day.

Within a short while, he became one of the steady members of the morning minyan [service]. Eventually, he began to feel uncomfortable when he removed his kipah [head covering] before he left the synagogue. One day, he decided to leave it on, and to his surprise, his wife was pleased.

Gradually he and his wife began to draw closer to Torah and mitzvos. In the beginning, Elisheva lit Shabbos candles and Netanel said kiddush, while the entire family ate a Shabbos meal together. Shortly afterwards, Elisheva and Netanel decided that they wanted to learn more about their Jewish roots.

This thirst for Torah and to learn more led them to attend a seminar sponsored by the Arachim organization. At the seminar they heard various lectures delivered by the Arachim staff, and they participated in a number of workshops. One workshop was led by Daniel Abir who spoke about his lost parrot. Immediately, Netanel identified it as the parrot he had found.

Netanel didn’t know whether or not he should return the parrot to Daniel Abir, and discussed the matter with the rabbi of his synagogue. He told the rabbi: “We like the parrot so much, especially since it drew us closer to Torah,”

Patiently, the rabbi explained to Netanel the importance of the mitzah of returning a lost item to its owner. Then he said; “ A golden opportunity to do a mitzvah is being placed at your doorstep. Take advantage of it now that you are strengthening yourself in Torah! Besides, the parrot is the one who caused you to come closer to Torah and as a reaulr it is appropriate for you to follow the Torah’s precepts and return the parrot to its rightful owner.”

Netanel agreed and the following day brought the parrot back to Daniel Abir. Then he told him the entire story

Daniel was happy that the parrot had been returned to him. But he was even happier over what the parrot had achieved during the time it was away. “I knew that it was good idea to teach it Shema” Daniel said. “But I never imagined how good.”|

The Lost Sister

The Lost Sister 

It was a cool morning in the early spring. From their window, Sandy and Ellen looked out upon the blue sea. The sun shone bright and golden upon the water. .Hurry,. called Ellen, .or we.ll be late for school.. Sandy and Ellen were two Jewish girls ,whom their mother invariably called, Sarah and Ella. They lived in a small town in Holland, not far from the sea. 

A little later the two girls were off, hand in hand they made their way towards the little schoolhouse. Ellen, the elder of the two, was a kind and quiet child with deep blue eyes. But seven year old Sandy was quite the opposite. Her merry black eyes twinkled mischievously as though she were always contemplating some new prank, or laughing at some mischief she had already done. Although the two little girls were so different, they never quarreled. Rather, they were greatly attached to each other, and could not bear to be separated. 

That winter, when Sandy had slipped on the ice and injured her foot, Ellen did not go to school for many days. She sat at her sister.s bedside all the time. When Sandy grew tired of one game, Ellen would play another, and when Sandy grew tired of playing, Ellen would tell her stories, or read to her. Although Ellen could see the boys and girls frolicking on the ice, and could hear their merry shouts, she never left Sandy.s bedside, until Sandy could walk again. 

Finally, Sandy was well enough to return to school. On her first day back, she listened intently to the teacher.s lesson. Suddenly, the door was flung open. An excited and terrified-looking youth stood in the doorway. In a voice hoarse with terror, he cried, .Flee, flee for your lives. The dike has broken! The water is coming up. Run to the plain!. 

A wild panic gripped the children. Everyone stampeded to the door. In the street were hundreds of people, pushing, running, fleeing for their lives! The mob surged forward at breakneck speed, racing with the water. When the plain was sighted, a cry of relief broke from the panting people. At last they were safe. Everybody was there but little Sandy. She was not able to keep up with the mob. Her old wound had reopened and she fell behind. Exhausted, she threw herself on the ground, and in a few minutes she was fast asleep. She was blissfully unaware that the surging water was coming closer and closer, and in another minute she would be devoured by the foaming sea. The next morning Sandy awoke and rubbed her eyes sleepily. .Oh,. she cried looking about her. .Where am I?. Sandy lay upon a bed in a little room. .How did I ever get here?. she thought to herself. 

The door opened, and in walked an old woman with hard and cruel eyes. .Well, little girl,. she said in a harsh voice, .you have me to thank for this. If I hadn't found you and carried you up the hill to my cottage, you might have drowned.. 

Sandy looked about her in bewilderment. At last she was beginning to understand what had occurred. But it was difficult indeed to thank the ferocious-looking old hag for saving her life. .Five long miles I carried you. the woman muttered. .You.ll repay me for my kindness, though.. 

.But where are my mother and my father?. cried Sandy. .Where is my sister Ellen?. .Don't worry about them,. said the old woman. .You'll be happy enough here without them.. .But I want to go home,. cried Sandy again. .You have no home any more except this home here!. replied the woman. .You have no one left in the world but me. You might as well get used to the idea.. The old woman forbade Sandy to mention her parents or her sister, and besides, she made Sandy work so hard that she had no time to think of them at all. 

As the days passed, Sandy began to forget her parents, and her home, and her dear sister Ellen. Saddest of all, Sandy began to forget that she was a Jewish girl. For the old woman never lit the Shabbos candles, or made a blessing, or kept Shabbos. So, Sandy, too, forgot how to do these things. 

The old woman's appearance did not disguise her character. She was as mean and cruel as she looked. For the three years that she kept Sandy with her, Sandy never had a moment of rest from morning till night. With the first light of day, she rose to milk the cows. Then she would lead the cows to pasture and bring them home again. She had to fetch water from the well, and keep the house tidy and clean. And not one little speck of dust escaped the woman.s eyes. 

Mercilessly, she worked the little girl till she grew wan and lean. Her cheeks lost their rosy look, and her eyes no longer twinkled. Her little hands were red and rough, and thin. At night her little bones ached with the long hours of drudgery and backbreaking toil. Never was a little girl as unhappy as Sandy was! 

It was Thursday evening. Sandy was sitting in the kitchen mending some clothes. .Sandy,. called the old woman, .come in here.. Obediently, Sandy went into the next room and the old woman said to her, .Tomorrow, there will be a fair near the village of Yondam. You will take the butter and cheese that you have prepared this afternoon to the fair. Be sure that you get a high price, and don.t let anyone fool you. You will start at dawn, but you must be back before nightfall, if you don.t want a beating. Now get back to your sewing.. 

As she sewed, Sandy mused about the task that she had to perform the following day for the first time. .I hope there will be other people from the neighborhood going to the fair. I will surely be afraid to go home all by myself, and Yondam is so far away.. The next day, at dawn Sandy started for the fair. She had plodded a good many miles along the dirty road before she came to Yondam. But she soon forgot her fatigue. She had never seen such a colorful and exciting event. Venders calling off their wares, farmers and merchants bargaining and talking together. 

After Sandy had sold the dairy and made some purchases for the old woman, it was nearly dusk, and she started reluctantly on her way back. Wearily she trudged through streets that were deserted, and dark. Suddenly, through the shutters of a little window she saw the gleam of candles. They struck a chord in her memory that had long lain forgotten. Somewhere, long ago, she had seen these same candles. But when? Where? Sandy could not tear herself away from the candles. They held her like a magic spell. She had stopped in front of the little house, and was watching the candles flicker and play on the shutters. They stirred a wonderful feeling in Sandy.s heart, and suddenly familiar scenes of her childhood came back to her. She remembered her mother lighting the candles on Friday night. She remembered the Shabbos table, laden with delicious food, everyone sitting about with shining eyes, and smiling faces; and she could not resist an impulse to enter the little house where the candles shone in the window. .At least, once again, I will see the Shabbos table as it was in my own home many years ago,. thought Sandy, and she knocked timidly at the door. The next moment, the door opened.

.Sandy!. cried Ellen. .Is it really you?. she cried again, embracing her long-lost sister.

.Oh, Ellen!. Sandy cried, and fainted. A little while later, Sandy was sitting by the table surrounded by her parents and sister. .At last, Sandy, you have come home again! We thought you had drowned on that fateful day when the dike broke. Where have you been? What brought you back to us?.

Sandy told them what had happened to her, and with tears of joy gleaming in her eyes, she concluded: .The candles, mother! The Shabbos Candles, burning in the window, brought me back home!.

The Shabbos Queen to the Rescue

The Shabbos Queen to the Rescue


The story we are going to tell you here came to pass over a hundred and fifty years ago . in the year 1831. It was the year of the Polish uprising, when Polish patriots organized a rebellion against their Russian overlords. They drove the Russians out of Warsaw and proclaimed independence (Jan. 1831). But later that year, the Russians recaptured Warsaw and crushed the revolt.

In a small Polish town near Kovno, there lived at that time a Jewish innkeeper. His name is not known to us, but we will call him Yosef. He was well known in the surrounding countryside as an honest and G-d-fearing Jew, whose wife could prepare delicious Jewish dishes. Members of the Polish nobility frequented Yosef.s inn, where there was never a shortage of good food and wine.

One day, on a late Friday afternoon, a Russian General and his troops arrived in town. They were returning from the fighting around Warsaw, and settled in the town for a rest after the long march. The sun had already set when the General sent his assistant to fetch some wine. The General had been told about the good reputation of the local Jewish innkeeper, and to him he directed his aide.

From every Jewish house the Shabbos candles were shining forth, which cast an air of festivity and holiness in the otherwise dark and deserted streets, through which the General.s aide made his way. He finally found the inn, but it was closed. He went around to the private entrance and knocked at the door.

The innkeeper, dressed in his Shabbos clothes, welcomed the adjutant into his house.

The General sent me to buy some of your best wine,. the aide said, taking out a roll of money.

.I am sorry indeed,. Yosef replied. .We are now celebrating the Sabbath. I do not do business on our holy day of Sabbath..

Nothing the adjutant said could make the Jew change his mind. The adjutant returned to his General and told him that the Jew had refused to sell him wine because of the Sabbath.

The General flew into a rage. He immediately dispatched two soldiers to the innkeeper to warn him that if he still refused to sell them wine for the General, he would face the most serious consequences.

Some time later the soldiers returned to the thirsty General . without wine.

.Why didn.t you bring me wine?!. the General roared.

.The Jew said, he could not sell any wine to anybody on his Sabbath.

However, he sent the key to his wine cellar, and suggested that perhaps the General might wish to help himself to any of the wine as his guest,. the soldiers reported.

The fury of the General began to evaporate as he contemplated the strange situation. .How strange that Jew is!. the General thought. .He would not sell me a bottle of wine because of the Sabbath, yet he is prepared to give away his entire wine-cellar. That little Jew has a great deal of brazenness, or perhaps courage is more to the point..

Such were the thoughts that crossed the General.s mind at that moment, and he decided to meet the Jew in person! When the General entered Yosef's house, he remained standing at the door as he absorbed the wonderful scene that met his eyes. The table was covered with a white cloth and laden with tasty dishes. The Shabbos candles shone brightly. Yosef and his wife and children were dressed in their Shabbos clothes; all faces aglow with delight. The General almost felt sorry to have disturbed this beautiful atmosphere and to have frightened the children.

Yosef rose to meet the General and respectfully invited him to join in the feast.

The General, who had burst into the house with the intention of teaching the Jew a lesson, felt his anger melt away. He sounded quite human, even polite, when he asked Yosef why he had refused to sell him some wine. .Don't you know that refusing to sell provisions to the army in times of war is tantamount to rebellion?.

.Your gracious highness surely knows that we Jews are forbidden to do business on our holy Shabbos day,. Yosef replied. .To keep the Shabbos day holy is one of the Ten Commandments given to us by G-d, the Supreme King of Kings. His command we must obey before any command by human kings and princes. However, now that your highness has been so gracious as to honor our humble house with your presence, allow us the opportunity of fulfilling another great commandment . that of hospitality. We shall indeed consider it a privilege if you and your adjutant would join us at the table. Please be our guests..

The General was greatly impressed. He sat down at the table and motioned his aide to do the same. Never in their lives had they enjoyed such delicious dishes before . gefilte fish with horseradish, roast chicken with tzimmess, kugel and kishka, with plenty of excellent wine to wash down each course. It was a feast fit for royalty.

Before leaving, the General took from his pocket a handful of golden pieces and offered them to Yosef. Politely but firmly Yosef refused to accept any money. .Have I not told your Highness that we consider it a special Mitzvah to offer hospitality. You were our guests, not clients. We are grateful to you for the privilege..

The General warmly shook hands with Yosef and departed in a happy mood. Several years later, some militiamen suddenly appeared in Yosef's inn and arrested him. Together with other dangerous rebels and criminals Yosef was brought to Vilna in chains.

During the long investigation that followed, Yosef learned that he was accused of taking part in a new Polish conspiracy to overthrow the Russians and drive them out of Poland. It so happened that the leader of the local rebels, Pan Kanarski, was captured, and in his documents, Yosef's inn was mentioned as the place where members of the Polish nobility frequently met to plan their revolt. This was proof enough that Yosef, too, was part of the conspiracy.

Yosef sat in prison awaiting trial, fully aware of the serious sentence that would be meted out to him . lifelong deportation to Siberia with hard labor, from which very few ever returned alive; or perhaps more mercifully . a quick death by a firing squad. In addition to his own plight, Yosef knew that if he were found guilty, it would cast a shadow on all the Jews of his town, with endless repression and persecutions.

While he knew that all efforts would be made by his fellow-Jews to establish his innocence, he could not feel very confident about the outcome. His only hope was to trust in the Heavenly Father. There was nothing for Yosef to do but to pray fervently and recite Tehillim, which he did constantly, tearfully, and with a broken heart.

One day, as he was in the midst of such supplication, the heavy door of his solitary cell opened, and a high official appeared. He was the Chief Inspector of prisons, on a routine check-up of the prison cells. The tears which filled Yosef.s eyes blurred his vision, and he could not see the Inspector very well.

But the Inspector gazed at him intently, and then exclaimed, .Why, this is my good friend Yosef the innkeeper. Good Heavens, what are you doing here?.

Yosef wiped his tears and looked in astonishment at the Inspector. It suddenly dawned on him that this was none other than the General whom he had entertained in his house that Friday night many years before! .Believe me, your Highness, I have done no wrong. I have always minded my own business, and taken no part in any politics. I am as innocent as a baby,.

Yosef cried.

.I have no doubt about it, Yosef,. the Chief Inspector assured him. .Rest assured that I shall leave no stone unturned to get you out of here. At last I shall be able to repay you for the friendship and hospitality you showed me that Friday night. I have never forgotten the experience of that evening..

The General, now Chief Inspector, personally appeared before the investigating committee and vouched for the innocence of the Jewish innkeeper.

He told them in detail of his experience with the innkeeper, and assured them that from his personal knowledge, he had not the slightest doubt that Yosef had no part in any conspiracy.. He is nothing more than an innkeeper, whose inn is open to all. In between serving his customers, he was always busy with his sacred books. How can he be held responsible for the actions of customers who found his inn a very attractive place to have a good meal?.

The Chief Inspector.s words, and his great influence in the highest spheres of the Russian government, dispelled all the suspicion directed against Yosef, and he was promptly released and sent home.

Great was the joy of Yosef.s family when he suddenly returned home, a free man.

.How did this wonderful thing happen?. his wife asked.

.The Queen has intervened in my behalf,. said Yosef.

.What Queen?.

.The Shabbos Queen, of course,. replied Yosef with a smile.