Saturday, February 20, 2010

A Chassidishe Melave Malka

I was at a Shabbos Table today (thank you the Amazing Yankel!) and I heard a couple of cool Baal Shem Tov stories, and since it's Motzei Shabbos I think it would be appropiate to relay them to all of you people out there.

The chassidim of the Tzemach Tzedek were once sitting around discussing the stories of the Baal Shem Tov, and trying to figure out how some of the more incredible ones happened. The Tzemach Tzedek walked in, heard what was going on, and said, "Every story of the Baal Shem Tov could certainly have happened, but there are three of them that I still can't figure out." He then proceeded to tell one of them.

There was once a guy who was married to his wife for ten years and they had no kids. He went to the Baal Shem Tov, who told him to stay married. The guy listened, and lo and behold ten years passed and the couple still had no kids. He came to the Baal Shem Tov and complained that he still had no kids. The Baal Shem Tov said, "Stay married." The guy said, "Look, I've been married for ten years for the Torah, and ten years for you, but I can't deal with this anymore."

The guy went home, divorced his wife, remarried, and had an absolutely miserable life. Like, entirely evilly crazy. Or something like that. He came to the Baal Shem Tov and complained that his life was so horrible- what had he done to deserve it? Sure, he hadn't listened to the Baal Shem Tov's advice, but was what he did so terrible?

The Baal Shem Tov took the guy to the local Synagogue, pulled out a Sefer Torah, opened it up, and showed to the guy a possuk that said, "This guy son of this guy (the guy in the story) should not divorce his wife." The Baal Shem Tov said, "What can I do? It's written in the Torah."

The Tzemach Tzedek did not understand how the story happened, but he said that if anyone could do it, the Baal Shem Tov could.
---
There once was a local innkeeper who didn't have any money, so the local Poretz threw him in the local deep dark dank pit. The Baal Shem Tov heard about this, and he fundraised here and there, and lo and behold he collected enough money to free the innkeeper and repatriate him to his long-suffering wife and children. Unfortunately though, there was not enough time for the innkeeper to go home for Shabbat, so he graciously accepted an invitation from the Baal Shem Tov.

The Baal Shem Tov's table was surrounded by the usual assortment of holy men and beggars (and many were one and the same), and the innkeeper had a place of honor at the head of the table. The Baal Shem Tov asked him, "Nu? Vos Is Neais?" The innkeeper told him that it had been a pretty regular pit, with pretty regular miseries. The Baal Shem Tov said, "Really? There was nothing special about your jail?" The innkeeper responded, "Well, now that you mention it, there is something..."

The innkeeper continued...

I wasn't alone in the pit, there were a whole bunch of other people there too. It was a pretty big pit, so I spent all my time on one side, and they spent all their time on their side. It was very strange- they would cry and mourn and generally be in a depressed state of mind the whole week, Sunday through Friday morning, but then Friday afternoon through Shabbos they partied like it was 1697. They did this every week for as long as I could remember, and it was really weird. I never asked them what was going on, because it was rather disturbing, and I didn't want anything to happen to me.

One week I found them much more depressed than normal, if that were possible. This afternoon, right before I was freed, they were much happier, exceedingly so, much more than normal. Knowing that I was to be released soon after, I approached the leader of the group and asked him what gave. He told me that, incredibly enough, he was not a man, nor were all the others of his group, but rather they were demons! Their whole life source came from a very holy man, which was a bit of a downer, because he was a very holy man, so they didn't have much of a life force. He fasted from week to week, and the demons suffered tremendously. Every Friday afternoon he would prepare himself a cup of milk, and prepare himself to drink it. The demons would send a messenger demon to the holy man's house, and just before the holy man could drink it the demon would spill it all over the floor. The holy man would get angry, and the demons would get life force for the weekend. They would party for a bit, but then the new week would start, and they'd be back to suffering.

One week (this week) the holy man decided that enough was enough, so he locked up the cup of milk in his safe so that it could not spill. The demons were very sad about this, because they knew they wouldn't get any life force that week. Nevertheless, they decided to send a demon just to see if it could do anything.

There was a guy selling super cheap wood that day who was coming up the road, and the holy man's wife got really excited. Super cheap wood! Woohoo! She approached the holy man, informed him of the upcoming woodsman, and begged him to allow her to purchase some for the house. The holy man said, "Sure thing, here's the key to my safe so you can get some money to buy some wood." The wife went over to the safe to get the money, and she spilled the milk! The demons were very happy. Super happy.

thus ended the innkeeper's tale...

While the innkeeper was finishing his tale one of the holy men around the Baal Shem Tov's table collapsed in a faint. Turns out he was the holy man in the story!

The Baal Shem Tov explained the incredible Hashgocha Pratis in the story. The innkeeper was imprisoned with the demons, only to be freed by the Baal Shem Tov, but it was too late for him to go home, so he went to the Baal Shem Tov's house, and told the story...

32 comments:

Yossi said...

A) I've heard the second one before, but not the first. great stories
B) what's the third story? you only wrote two

The Real Shliach said...

a. Yup.

b. I only heard two.

Crawling Axe said...

nice.

why did he faint?

threw

The Real Shliach said...

Why did he faint? Wouldn't you faint if you heard that your getting angry gave chayos to demons for a whole weekend?

threw what?

Crawling Axe said...

Possibly. It’s likely already happening. I probably support a whole island.

through → threw

Altie said...

yay! yashe koach to u too.

The Real Shliach said...

CA: Or even a small country!

You mean I wrote one instead of the other?

Altie: Thanks.

Crawling Axe said...

It’s an island country of demons.

Poretz “through” him...

The Real Shliach said...

Australia! England!

Ahh, corrected I have corrected.

Crawling Axe said...

More like Ireland or Madagascar. I get angry enough for an Australia, but then I usually go and release my anger through violence, so it never gets pent up.

Why couldn’t TT understand this story?

The Real Shliach said...

The holy man's anger also didn't get pent up.

I believe he could, I think it's only the first story he didn't understand how it happened.

Crawling Axe said...

But I am slightly less holy. A movie a week away from a beinoni, but not a tzaddik.

Why couldn’t he understand how it happened? There are much crazier h"p stories.

The Real Shliach said...

Humph.

No, the first story is the one he couldn't understand.

Crawling Axe said...

I thought there were three stories which he couldn’t understand, of which these were two.

The Real Shliach said...

Oh, sorry, perhaps I hadn't clarified that.

sarabonne said...

Here I thought the 1697 was supposed to be a party like 1967. Hmmm...

The Real Shliach said...

In the times of the Baal Shem Tov there was no 1967...

Crawling Axe said...

There certainly was 1967 since briyas ha’oilam.

The Real Shliach said...

You can't ask questions on a story.

e said...

I'm impressed that there is so little mention of TRS' triumphant return to his old stomping grounds. I guess that's a good sign: we care so little about those anonymous, self-righteous thugs that we don't even need to comment about our not caring. Great job guys. Ignore me and continue this fascinating discussion about 1967 vs. 1697.

sarabonne said...

Well I find it extremely controversial. Especially because I distinctly recall hearing "1967" in a previous quote.
I will very likely lose sleep over the matter.

The Real Shliach said...

e: Exactly. Power to the people.

Sara: Did you lose sleep?

Dovid said...

e- i guess TRS feels there's no use crying over spilt milk.

guerilla blog defender said...

what spilt milk? We have spilled the blood of those who try to stop us!

Crawling Axe said...

As they say for chalitza, where there is blood, there is spit. To which the Rebbe adds: where there is spit, there is blood.

Dovid said...

e/guerilla- did you read the second story in his post? "Spilt milk"... get it? .... get it? (ok guess it wasn't funny)

Crawling Axe said...

cqth

e said...

ca: that last comment was crypticer than cryptic.

Crawling Axe said...

chuckling quietly to himself

e said...

oh. shoulda known.

ex-Mossad said...

ff

ex-Mossad said...

ff