Whenever he signed his name, Rabbi Yeshaya would add:
Servant of the holy Rov of Liska, zt"l.
When at the age of three R' Yeshaya was orphaned of his
father, his mother brought him up single-handedly as
best she could. As soon as he had grown a little older,
she sent him to learn the Torah and its ways under the
protective guidance of R' Hershele of Liska zt"l.
The young orphan's potential was not lost on R'
Hershele and he decided this would best be developed by
the dayan of Semiahl.
As R' Yeshaya sat and learnt in Semiahl, word spread
that the newcomer was a bochur whose prayers were
always answered. Jews of the city would enter the
yeshiva, seek out R' Yeshaya in his corner and ask him
to daven for an ill person or other yeshua.
Even businessmen would request his blessing and
tefilloh before finishing a deal — this from a
After a few years, when R' Yeshaya returned to Liska,
R' Hershele brought him into his home as one of the
family. R' Yeshaya now had the opportunity to follow
his rebbe's every step closely. In keeping with the
ma'amar chazal, "Gedoloh shimushoh yoser
milimudoh," he became the attendant of R' Hershele,
never leaving his presence. Each nuance of R' Hershele
was observed and then emulated, as he served him with
every fiber of his being. Thus he would forever humbly
consider himself the servant of R' Hershele, as though
to say, my only worth is that I attended my great
Following R' Hershele Liska's petiroh, R'
Yeshaya, feeling he still needed a rov, set off for
Zanz where he planned to take shelter under the wing of
the Divrei Chaim zt"l. The Zanzer however,
recognizing his true worth, accorded him great respect.
It was the Divrei Chaim's practice to invite some
rabbonim and talmidei chachomim home with him
after ma'ariv to join him for his meal, where
they would feast on the delights of the Torah. The day
that R' Yeshaya arrived in Zanz, the Divrei Chaim
invited no one but him. Thus, the youngest of them all
became the most esteemed.
Rabbi Yeshaya intended to live in Liska after his
marriage but he was beset there with many troubles.
Upon asking the advice of the Yitav Lev zt"l, he
was told to move out of Liska to a nearby town. In the
words of the Yitav Lev, "You can find parnossoh
at the top of the mountain."
He settled in Kerestier, where his hilltop home became
a focal point for the many who came to learn, be guided
and to bask in his presence.
Rabbeinu had an open-house policy wherein everyone,
without exception, was welcome. His Rebbetzin would
devotedly cook and serve every wayfarer, the poor —
all those who came to see the Rabbi. In her later
years, despite her failing health, she would continue
with what she saw as her holy avodoh. With a
dampened kerchief round her head to still her constant
headaches, she would stand, cook and serve as always.
The majority of her guests were not distinguished
gentlemen, but the destitute, the bedraggled, the dirty
tramps off the streets whom no one else would take in.
After R' Yeshaya's passing, it became a seguloh
to place a picture of Rabbeinu in a room that was
thought to be infested with mice and the rodents would
disappear. This seguloh has been tested a number
of times and gedolei hador attribute it to the
zechus of the Rabbi's extraordinary hachnosas
R' Yeshaya would donate large sums of money to
tzedokoh. In fact, the more money people brought
to him, the more he distributed, always ensuring that
there was never a single coin left in his possession
Once on a Thursday night, his righteous Rebbetzin asked
him for some money to buy flour, so she could bake
challos for Shabbos. Having nothing left to give
her, the Rabbi instructed her to buy on credit.
"The storekeeper will refuse to sell me on credit, for
I owe him so much already. I am ashamed even to ask,"
was the reply.
"If so," answered Rabbeinu, "just wait a little. Go
warm up some water for drinks and Hashem
Yisborach will find us the money."
"Hot water? For whom?" wondered the Rebbetzin aloud.
"Wait and you'll see that Hashem will send us a good
The woman glanced furtively through the window. Outside
a blizzard was raging. Howling winds blew in a strong
snowstorm and the mere thought of the biting cold
brought a shiver to her bones.
Which living creature would be outdoors on such a
Nevertheless, like everyone else, she too believed in
her husband unquestioningly, knowing that her promised
help would come.
She did not have long to wait. An urgent knocking
brought her hurriedly to the door. Together with the
roaring wind, a man entered the house, covered with
snow and ice crystals and shivering violently.
Immediately, the Rebbetzin served him a warm drink. The
stranger gratefully accepted and thawed his frozen
hands and feet with some more warm water.
After he had recovered somewhat, he placed a large sum
of money from his pocket onto the table and began to
tell his tale.
"I live in the nearby town of Takai. This evening I
decided to bring my ma'aser money to Rabbeinu to
distribute as he sees fit. After setting out, I noticed
the threateningly, dark clouds looming ever closer, but
I decided to continue walking. Then the storm broke.
Heavy snow and hail pounded me mercilessly and every
step forward became a struggle against the mighty wind.
I tried to press on but seeing how, after a while, I
had hardly covered any distance I prepared to retrace
my steps and return home. This too became impossible,
as the wind bowled me over. I had no choice but to
continue rolling in the snow in the direction of
Kerestier, until I finally arrived at your door. And
here is the ma'aser money, Rebbe."
Exhausted, the man leaned back in his chair to finish
sipping his tea.
"Gevaldig," the Rebbe exclaimed exultantly. "Two
things can be learned from this story: One, the extreme
mesirus nefesh of a Yid who wants to fulfill a
mitzvah, and the second, that when Hashem wants to send
a gift, the money will come despite all the snow and
winds, even if a Jew has to come on his head to bring
A phenomenal story has been passed on from the elders
of Kerestier, who remember when it took place.
An agunah once came to R' Yeshaya to pour out her
bitter lot. Her husband had run away, leaving her
stranded to look after her children with no source of
livelihood and a bleak future.
Rabbeinu had no immediate solution, but invited her to
move into his home with her children until after
Shabbos, when he will decide what to do.
Firmly believing that on Shabbos her salvation would
come and all her troubles would be allayed, the woman
moved into Rabbeinu's home. Every now and then she
would enter the Rebbe's room to ask if her husband had
arrived, never losing hope that the Rebbe would somehow
Close to Shabbos, a steady stream of people came to the
Rebbe. Among them was a young man who began talking to
R' Yeshaya. Suddenly the agunah came again to ask
if her husband had come. Seeing the man who was
talking, she stopped in her tracks and began to shriek:
"It's you! Why did you leave me?"
The Rebbe succeeded in calming her down and eventually
made peace between the two.
Subsequently when the Rebbe was told that the woman was
publicizing his mofess, he looked surprised.
"This had nothing to do with me at all," explained R'
Yeshaya. "It was in the zchus of this woman's
emunas chachomim — her steadfast belief that if
she did as I said she would see an end to her trouble —
that her husband indeed returned."