"Der Groiser Rabbi Meir"
Rabbeinu, who was a talmid of the Baal Shem Tov, is known by this name in order to differentiate between him and his grandson Reb Meir'l of Premishlan.
Rabbi Meir looked like an ordinary Jew who worked to earn a living, but behind the facade was a great man.
As far as the gentiles who dealt with him in business were concerned, he was Meir Sprovedlivy, meaning the trustworthy, for each step of Rabbi Meir's was a kiddush Hashem and everyone relied on his integrity.
Rabbi Meir's strong stance that a Jew's life, and indeed the very Torah we live, begins and ends with bitochon is manifested in his peirush on Bereishis.
The roshei teivos of the first words in the Torah, `Bereishis boro Elokim eis . . . ' are the same as those in the words, `Becho botachti al eivosho.' Taking them backwards gives us the first letters of the posuk `Ashrei odom botei'ach Boch.'
His grandson, Rabbi Meir'l miPremishlan, told of his supreme bitochon in Hashem.
One day Rabbi Meir Hagodol informed his Rebbetzin he felt that being a businessman is showing a lack of bitochon, since it seemed as though he was relying on his work to bring him a living. So saying, he closed down the business and went to spend all his time in the beis medrash, engrossed in Torah and tefilloh.
Time went on and the poverty in the house increased until the children were begging for bread but there was nothing to give them.
At this point a goy knocked on the door of Rabbi Meir's home, looking urgently for Meir Sprovedlivy.
"I have a business deal to offer him," he explained. "In truth, I've had many offers already but I only wished to sell it to Meir. After searching for him without success I returned home late last night. It was my wife who suggested that perhaps Meir is sick, so I started to look for his house this morning, until I was sent here."
After hearing his tale, the weary yet hopeful Rebbetzin went to the beis medrash to show her husband how they were being sent parnossoh straight from Heaven and, what's more, it had been brought right to their doorstep.
Barely looking up from his sefer, Rabbeinu replied that he cannot interrupt his learning to talk to a goy, but the Rebbetzin should arrange for him to return when he finishes learning. The stranger dutifully returned later on to offer the deal — a honeycomb.
When Rabbi Meir inquired as to the price, the seller said he relied on Meir to make a fair offer. To his pleasant surprise Rabbi Meir suggested an exorbitantly high price to which the delighted goy readily agreed.
Since Rabbeinu had no money, a neighbor lent them the full amount and the deal was closed.
Quickly, the Rebbetzin took the honeycomb into the house to open it and sell its contents. How immense was her disappointment when she saw only a thin layer of honey that appeared to be sandwiched between two thick pieces of wood. So the whole deal was a fraud! From where would they earn the money to repay their neighbor?
Unable to contain herself, the woman burst into the beis medrash for the second time that day, only now she was weeping bitterly.
"Hashem Yisborach will not forsake us," Reb Meir tried to calm the distraught Rebbetzin. "Let us trust in Him. Meanwhile, we will sell the house in order to pay our debt. But go and check the honeycomb once more."
Considerably calmed, the Rebbetzin did as she was bidden.
She began to inspect the honeycomb from all six sides and as she did so she heard the clink and thud of falling coins; they were falling out from between the two pieces of wood — gold coins! Rabbi Meir was not so quick to be taken in. "Perhaps we are dealing with to'us akum in which case it would be a kiddush Hashem to return the goy's loss. Meanwhile, until we find the goy again we will derive no benefit from this money."
Subsequently, the goy was traced and Rabbi Meir asked him from where he got hold of the honeycomb. In all innocence he described how he had found it on a tree and had cut it down together with the branch to which it was attached.
Reb Meir'l miPremishlan revealed the prologue to the story: The man had been unaware that a nobleman had hidden his wealth in the hollow branch of the tree and this was what was truly sent directly to Rabbi Meir as a reward for his implicit bitochon in Hashem.
When Rabbi Meir Hagodol's fame as a holy person began to spread, people came to him from all over to seek his guidance in Torah and avodoh. He became recognized as one of the first disseminators of chassidus in Galicia.
Once, Rabbeinu was given the honor of being sandak at a bris in Berzhan. At the seudas bris, the rov of the city sat at the head table and Rabbi Meir sat on the side surrounded by his chassidim.
The rov found their behavior strange, particularly when they began singing, Borchi nafshi, lichvod Rosh Chodesh. He began to make some pointed remarks, criticizing Rabbeinu and his followers. After a while he regretted his actions and made his way to sit near Rabbeinu and ask his forgiveness. As a gesture of good will he was mechabed Rabbi Meir to say a dvar Torah.
"We said today in Borchi nafshi, `Yeitzei odom . . . a man should go out to his work and to his avodoh towards evening.
"A person should first do his own work. He should first work on himself and only afterwards can he bring others to avodas Hashem. The latter he should do adei orev through pleasant ways (areivos) and caring for others (areivim zeh lozeh)."
His gentle rebuke found its mark and made its way to the rov's heart.
A precious yerushoh lies in the hands of Rabbi Meir's descendants in the form of a large sefer written in his holy ksav yad, containing much wisdom in practical Kabboloh. In keeping with Rabbeinu's strict instructions not to print this tremendous work, it remains hidden from the public.