In addition to his avodas Hashem Rabbi Avrohom made it
his lifetime's task to collect money for the poor of
Eretz Yisroel. To this end, he was seen most of the
year round travelling from town to town, barely spending a
Shabbos at home.
In one city the Rebbe was approached by a wealthy
philanthropist who offered to donate an enormous amount of
money — equal to that which the Rebbe would raise in the
next few months — so that Rabbi Avrohom could stay at home
for an extended time to pursue his Torah studies in peace.
"I have two answers for you," replied Rabbeinu. "First, I am
prepared to undergo all the hardship of travelling, even if
only to persuade one Yid to donate one zloty to aniyei
Eretz Yisroel, for in so doing I am doing him an immense
"Second, the holy Shechinah is in golus. A
servant must take after his master, and if Hakodosh
Boruch Hu wanders around, I need be no different."
A chossid of Rabbi Avrohom by the name of Reb Avrohom
Yitzchok was dangerously ill. Following an operation on his
leg, infection had set in and the doctors held out little
hope that a second operation would help. But they were ready
The chossid was reluctant to go ahead without the consent of
the Rebbe. Urgently, he sent messengers to find out the
whereabouts of the Rebbe, but he could not be traced.
As a last resort, the ailing man turned to an old
minhag of chassidim to assemble ten distinguished
chassidim around his sickbed and to ask their advice in the
absence of the Rebbe. They would render the decision in
place of the Rebbe. It was decided that the operation would
be performed and the doctors scheduled it for the following
day, Shabbos Parshas Beshalach.
Boruch Hashem, the treatment was successful — even
beyond the doctors' expectations.
Reb Avrohom Yitzchok still had a long road ahead to
regaining his former strength, and he sent his son to seek
out the Rebbe and obtain his brochoh for a refuah
The following day they found out that the Rebbe had spent
Shabbos in Warsaw where he was planning to stay a few days.
Upon his arrival at the house of the Rebbe's host in Warsaw,
the son found that the shamash was unwilling to allow
him in to speak to the Rebbe. The young man related the
reason for his coming, describing how the ten men had
decided for his father in place of the Rebbe, and that now
he wished to ask for a refuah sheleimoh for Avrohom
Yitzchok ben Rella.
At the mention of the chossid's name the shamash
suddenly became excited, exclaiming, "Now I know what the
To the bewildered son he explained: "This past Shabbos, the
day of your father's operation, the Rebbe's aliyah was
at the pesukim of the Shiroh, ending with the
words Ani Hashem rof'echo. Having finished the
brochoh, the Rebbe announced, `We have said ani
Hashem rof'echo, whose acronym, alef, yud, reish,
is the same as that of Avrohom Yitzchok Rella's, may he have
a refuah sheleimoh.'
"Nobody knew to whom the Rebbe was referring, but now I
understand that his thoughts and prayers were with your
father in his hour of need."
When in the city of Dizhov, Rabbi Avrohom would stay at the
home of Reb Zanvil Edelstein z"l.
With the outbreak of the First World War his former host was
forced to flee his hometown. He came to Slonim
brokenhearted, and dejectedly poured his heart out to the
Rebbe, describing how overnight he had been changed from a
wealthy respected man into a destitute pauper.
To his astonishment, the Rebbe answered him comfortingly,
"It's all right. Don't worry. Your house did not burn down."
Reb Zanvil had no idea what the Rebbe meant until months
later, upon returning home, he discovered that most of the
town had been ravaged by a terrible fire. Just when it had
reached his house the flames had died down inexplicably.
Usually, when the Rebbe was approached for a yeshuo he
would request that the man donate money to the poor of
Once during the Purim Seudah, a Yid burst into the room
crying out in anguish. His young son had fallen out of an
upper story window and was lying injured on a stone in the
yard. The doctor insisted that it was dangerous to move the
boy and the distraught father was at a loss.
Rabbeinu instructed the father to donate three hundred
zlotys to aniyei Eretz Yisroel. He replied that he did
not have the sum with him but would write a credit note to
that amount. The Rebbe consented and, after the note was
written up, the Rebbe threw him an apple and told him to go
home in peace. The anxious father, however, could not bring
himself to return home, afraid of the sight that would meet
his eyes. But the Rebbe encouraged him, saying that he had
nothing to worry about.
The Yid made his way home. To his wonder, his gravely
injured son who had earlier been lying prostrate on the
stones, was walking around as though nothing had ever
Rabbeinu was meticulous in upholding minhagim as they
had always been kept, including those whose meaning or
reasons are unknown.
One Shabbos, a chossid who had no onions at home ate the
traditional egg but without onions. When he entered the
Rebbe's home, the latter was in middle of eating the
"Nu? Have you eaten the traditional eier mit zwiebel?"
asked the Rebbe. Startled, the chossid replied that he had
done without the onions since he had none in the house. The
Rebbe promptly gave him some of his so as not to forfeit the
In another instance, a bochur came to him wearing a
wristwatch. This was a relatively new fashion at the time
and until then everyone had been using a pocket watch on a
The Rebbe rebuked him, saying, "It says about Yosef
Hatzaddik when he resisted the wife of Potifar's attempts to
seduce him, `Vayemo'ein.' When leining the
parsha the taam on this word is a
shalsheles. The chain we wear on our pocket watches
reminds us of this shalsheles as a constant guard
against the temptations of the yetzer hora. However
with your wristwatch you have no such reminder."
Rabbeinu would often relate how he came to know and respect
the Griz, Reb Yitzchok Zev Soloveitchik of Brisk,
Once when the Rebbe had occasion to pass through the town of
Brisk, the Griz asked him to inspect a new mikveh that
was being built at the time.
"Together, we went slowly round, inspecting the walls of the
mikveh thoroughly," told Rabbi Avrohom. "At one point,
I bent closer to look at what I suspected may have been a
crack. `Is there not a slight crack here?' I asked. At the
mere suggestion, the Griz turned white, his cheeks deflating
Concluded the Slonimer, "Such a degree of yiras
Shomayim and yiras cheit, I've never seen before.
To be so afraid of the possibility of a crack in a
mikveh that no one had used as yet! . . . This was my
personal impression of the Griz."