The Brocho That Didn’t Make Sense

Naglar was a Jewish landowner, had owned a huge alcohol tank on his property, which was nine feet tall. One of the nearby gentile farmers dreamed about access to the tank. His mind was made up – come what may he would find a way to steal some of the whiskey. Stealthily, he made his way to the alcohol tank and set up a tall ladder by it.  He climbed up and as he reached the top and leaned over, he lost his balance and fell into the alcohol tank and drowned.

When news of the accident reached the police, an inquiry was set up. They decided to place the blame on the Jewish landowner. Within a short time they prepared a criminal claim against Naglar to the district court in Tarnopol (today in Ukraine). Naglar received the criminal charge in his hometown on Friday, erev Shabbat, which stated that he was guilty for the death of the farmer (the tf) and his judgement date was set for the coming Tuesday.

The notice disrupted the tranquility of Shabbat. Try as he might to keep his spirits up, the possibility of the harsh punishment awaiting him, did not allow him to sleep or rest.

Motzoei Shabbat, he prepared his horse and wagon and decided to travel to Tchortkov to his Rebbe, Reb Dovid Moshe Friedman (a branch of the holy Ruzhiner), to request a brocho to be extricated from the terrible situation he found himself in. From there he planned to continue to Tarnopol to find an attorney for his defense.

He arrived in Tchortkov early in the morning. Though the custom of the Rebbe was to see guests in the evening; however, he managed to be received right away. He told the Tzadik about the trouble that had befallen him.

The Rebbe listened carefully and then blessed him with success at the court case. He then instructed him that he should not continue to Tarnopol with the wagon he came in. Rather, he should send it back home, and travel to Tarnopol by mail coach.  

“To Tarnopol you should travel with the mail coach which leaves tomorrow morning,” the Rebbe instructed.

Naglar was confused. He tried to explain that this was not possible because the mail coach which leaves on Monday morning, makes a few stops along the way and would not reach Tarnopol before Monday evening. He still needed to find an attorney and discuss the case with him before the court case which was scheduled for Tuesday morning.

The Rebbe listened to his words, but remained firm in his advice that he should travel by mail coach.

Naglar accepted the words of the Tzadik. He sent his wagon and wagon driver back to his home and found a room in a motel to spend the night. He was still feeling very uptight and could hardly sleep a wink. In the morning he joined a group waiting for the mail coach.

Sitting in the wagon, he sighed again and again, as visions of the court case flashed through his mind. A woman sitting nearby noticed the stranger and feeling bad for him, asked him what was bothering him?

Trying to make him feel better, she said to him, “Life has not been easy for me also lately.” She continued, “I have an only son and he is very ill. The doctors gave up hope to save his life. I heard that there is a holy man in Tchortkov who is the only one that can help me and save my son’s life. I am a Gentile woman; but decided to go to Tchortkov to request his blessing. Thank G-d, he agreed to see me and gave me his blessing and also gave me some amulets for my son.” Saying this she took out the amulets which the Tzadik had given her and announced, “I believe in his words. I am totally certain that my son will be completely healed!”

Naglar was encouraged by the story of the woman and it helped him calm down. He decided to share with her his own troubles. He told her what happened on his property and the terrible verdict awaiting him.

When he finished speaking, the woman told him. “My husband is a judge in the district court of Tarnopol. Maybe he can do something for you.”

These words brought new hope to Naglor. He began thinking what he could do. “I wonder if there is a way I can meet with your esteemed husband?” he asked.

The woman came up with an idea. “I have two suitcases with me,” she said, “one I will take and the second one, you can bring to our house. This way I can introduce you to my husband.”

At eight in the evening, the coach arrived in Tarnopol. She gave Naglar the address of her home. She left first and about a quarter of an hour later, he arrived at their house with her suitcase. He knocked on the door and it was opened by the judge himself. In the manner of cultured people, he invited him to come into the lounge. When they sat down, his wife told her husband about the trouble in which he finds himself. And about the case against him which was received by the district court.

The judge asked him for his name. When he heard the name Naglar, he said that his file was given to him and he will be the presiding judge in this case. He turned to him and said: “You can sleep soundly tonight.”

Naglar parted from the couple thanking them profusely. He made his way to an attorney who was suggested to him to defend him at the court case. Tuesday morning, he and his attorney arrived at the court early. At nine o’clock the case began. The judge reacted impatiently to the arguments put forth and pointed out many weaknesses in the accusation. Within a short time, he pounded the gavel on the table and announced, “Acquitted!”. Naglar was released from all blame and returned home a free man. He was grateful to Hashem and his Rebbe who found a way to help him in his time of need.

From Sichas Hashavua # 1776

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