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14 Adar 5775 - March 5, 2015 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










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Sparks of Greatness
The Slonimer Rebbe Ha'Admor Rabbi Avrohom Weinberg zt"l, Author of Beis Avrohom

In Honor of his Yahrtzeit 1 Iyar 5693/1933

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 favor.

"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 to try.

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 sheleimoh.

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 Rebbe meant."

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 Eretz Yisroel.

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 happened.


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 seudah.

"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 minhag.

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 chain.

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, personally.

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 in fear."

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."


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