Rabbeinu was renowned in his time as a phenomenal maggid, an orator who, with the power of his words, would arouse his fellow Jews to become ever closer to their Father in Heaven.
As soon as his name spread, the town of Trisk became the epicenter for Yidden, as gedolei Yisroel together with laymen flocked to seek the Maggid's advice and blessing.
The sensation in Cracow was palpable. For the first time ever, Rabbi Avraham Twerski, the Trisker Maggid, was gracing the city with his holy presence.
Day and night, in a never-ending stream, did Cracow's Yidden converge on the residence where Rabbeinu was lodging. Among them a middle-aged woman, her head wrapped in a tichel, hands tightly clutching a large purse, also waited, pushed a little, and then waited some more, until her turn finally came to be received by the Rebbe.
She had come, she told the Maggid, to repay a longstanding debt that she had owed the Maggid. Withdrawing from her purse a large sum of money she elaborated, her eyes misting over with the memories her explanation evoked.
"Many years ago, when I was still childless, the esteemed Rebbe was here in Cracow and I came to plead that the Rebbe relieve me of my barren plight and bless me with children. The holy Rebbe requested a pidyon of an enormous amount of money, of which I was only able to procure a part at the time. This I gave gladly, promising to pay the rest later. Meanwhile, Hashem blessed me with healthy children, but I hadn't with whom to send the remaining sum, and the journey from Cracow to Trisk is too long and arduous for me to undertake personally."
The woman's face took on an expression of joy and relief as she concluded, "I'm so glad now to be able to finish paying my debt to the Rebbe."
With a nod of his head, the Maggid accepted the money and the woman was gone.
Her departure though left a cloud of unasked questions hanging in the air. Like a dense fog they swirled in the minds of the Maggid's attendants.
Strange! What could this mean? It is common knowledge that this is the Rebbe's first visit to Cracow. How could he have granted this woman her blessing for children here as she had stipulated? Was she mistaken; perhaps she had been to a different Maggid, maybe the Koznitzer Maggid — but then the money belongs to that other one and not Rabbeinu; why would he have accepted a debt belonging to someone else?
The puzzling scenario gave them no rest, until one of the more daring among them summoned the courage to ask with derech eretz for an explanation.
"I'll tell you a story that happened in the days of the Baal Shem Hakodosh," revealed the Trisker.
"Two talmidei chachomim who barely eked out a living peddling from door to door were finding life increasingly difficult. One day Shimon turned to Zorach with an idea to ease their burden of making a livelihood.
"`You've heard and so has everyone else, about the Baal Shem Tov who works mofsim and gets paid for his pains. Let's go from town to town, announcing in advance that the Baal Shem Tov will be arriving shortly; You'll be the Baal Shem and I'll be his gabbai. All the people will flock to us with a kvittel in one hand and pidyon in the other, and there you have it — an easy and bountiful income.'
"His partner envisioned an easy life before him and Shimon and Zorach, alias Baal Shem Tov and his gabbai, began their new venture.
"To their own amazement, their blessings bore fruit and their mofsim seemed to work. In a short time they were sought out by throngs of Yidden and "business" flourished.
"Eventually however, their consciences caught up with them.
"`Between you and me we really know what we are and, even more, who we aren't. Only we ourselves know how much our brochos are worth. Come to think of it, what about this Baal Shem Tov himself; perhaps there's nothing real behind him either.'
"So saying Shimon, with Zorach trailing after him, set off to Mezhibuzh to confirm the authenticity of the Baal Shem Tov.
"As they were ushered in and before they could get a chance to open their mouths the holy Baal Shem fixed them with a stern glare and began to scold them loudly.
"`I know everything you did, and had I not had mercy on your families I'd have long ensured that you were punished severely. You want to know how you were able to do mofsim?
"`My whole purpose in this world is to bring the children of Yisroel close to their Father in heaven. To this end Hashem empowers me to poel yeshuos so that people will get chizuk in Torah and teshuvoh. When you started masquerading and giving brochos in my name, I requested that Heaven fulfill your blessing so as not to incur a chilul Hashem and the weakening of emunah among Klal Yisroel. Hence your success. And now, stop the acting!'
"Similarly," continued the Maggid of Trisk, "A number of years ago a Jew claiming to be the Trisker Maggid arrived here in Cracow and began to accept kvittlech and pidyonos. I gave him my koach so as to avoid a chilul Hashem. In light of this, the debt of this woman does indeed belong to me."
The Kochav MiYaakov zt"l related that he once presided over a din Torah where the accused had sinned against the Maggid of Trisk. The Admor of Husyatin was also in attendance, since the avreich was a chossid of his.
"In the presence of the Trisker Maggid and the Husyatiner Rebbe," recounts the Kochav MiYaakov, "I heard the accuser testify that the young man standing before us had been pogeah bichvod the Trisker Maggid.
"Looking at the accused, I saw before me a young man, the father of a family, shaking in fear. I told those present of a similar court case that took place in the city of Ostroa, where a poor man insulted the Rosh Hakohol. A fine could not be imposed on him, for he had no money with which to pay. It was therefore decided to make him do community service. In doing so he would be subservient to the Rosh Hakohol and would come to recognize and respect his position.
"`Here too,' I said, `our chossid is destitute and were we to impose a fine on him, he has not the wherewithal to pay. I therefore turn to the Trisker Maggid and request that the Rebbe bless this Yid with parnossoh beshefah so that he will come to realize the greatness of the Maggid and honor him accordingly'"
The Trisker Maggid's droshos are recorded in his sefer Mogen Avrohom, named so "for it will be a shield for all those who learn the sefer."