Dear Campers, AMUSH
It's hard to believe but once again the last Shabbos of camp,x"a,, has dawned upon us. B'H it has been a special memorable summer with exciting events, and much fun.
Chazal say that when one says good bye to his friend it should be with a Dvar Halacha for in this light he will remember his friend. As the summer comes to a close let us remember Camp Kol Torah for what it stands for.
Let us have a Shabbos of great ruach, and hasmodoh in Limuid Hatorah so that it will last us through the year. Yehi Rotzon that we meet again next year in Yerushalayim Ha'bnuyah.
A Gutten Shabbos
Kesiva Vachasima Tovah,
Camp Kol Torah
Divrei Torah Parshas Ekev
Glimpses of Greatness: Hagaon Katzadik R' Yoel Teitelbaum, Satmar Rebbe ZTVK"L
Wonders of Nature Hashem: The Wondrous Bat
Item of Interest: Der Krimer
Story: Saved by a Kemea Part IV
Divrei Torah Parshas Ekev
(c"h w'z) iugna, ceg vhvu
The meaning ofceg is heel. This possuk is referring to keeping the easy Mitzvos that people tread on with their heels.
The Sefer Lekach Tov points out: Among these Mitzvos, are the basic Mitzvos of derech eretz towards others. The way a person deals with others reflects on his madreigah in ruchnius.
How did Hashem test Moshe Rabeinu to see if he was fit to lead Klal Yisroel? The Midrash tells us by the delicate way in which he took care of the sheep. This is the same way Hashem tested Dovid Hamelech to see if he was fit to be king. How does leading sheep prove leadership abilities?
Because, if someone acts in a responsible caring way for smaller things, he will do the same for bigger challenges. If on the other hand people are not very caring and responsible in smaller matters they can not be trusted n more important things.
Saying good morning to someone, doing a small chesed, caring for the belongings of someone else are all things that are often neglected. Yet they go a long way in determining what spiritual level a person is on.
('y w'j) vhbct rat .rt
The gemoroh in Taanis learns from here that any Talmid Chochom who is not as strong as iron (vhbct can be read vhbuc, its builders... the Talmidei Chochomim), is not a talmid chochom. This seems to contradict another gemoroh in Taanis that says a person should be soft like a reed and not hard like a cedar tree. The meforshim answer: When it comes to determining a halacha or hashkofa the talmid chochom must be hard not bending or compromising. Later on the gemoroh is talking about dealing with your fellow man. Then a talmid chochom must be soft and sensitive to people's feelings... soft like a reed.
('h w'j) ,frcu ,gcau ,kftu
One who has pleasure from this world without making a brocho is stealing from Hashem and Klal Yisroel (v"k ;s ,ufrc 'xn). That he is stealing from Hashem is understandable. He is using the good that Hashem bestowed without asking permission or thanking him. But why is he stealing from Klal Yisroel? R' Akiva Eiger explains: Hashem created the world so we will recognize His greatness. The more we recognize the more Hashem bestows upon us. But if we are ungrateful, then Hashem minimizes the crops and the riches in the world. Therefore, those that don't make a brocho cause others to lose.
(z"h w'y) orcatu hsh hba kgn ofhkatu ,ujukv hbac aup,tu
What didubhcr van gain by breaking the ,ujuk? Did he think that after the kdgv tyj there was no longer a need for the vru,? Hagaon R' Shimon Shkop ZTVK"L explains: The first ,ujuk were extraordinary in that by just learning what was written on them was forever etched in a person's memory. The power of these ,ujuk came because Hashem carved them out himself. There was no preparation on the part of man. ubhcr van was afraid that the nation, being in a state of tyj could abuse the Torah by using the knowledge in the wrong way. For this reason we received the second ,ujuk, carved out by ubhcr van. This shows that Torah has a prerequisite. It must be carved out by man. The vru, ic must first perfect himself... his ,usn, his vru,c ,ukng etc. One who does not work hard is not vfuz to Torah. If a person does not work hard constantly in Torah, he will eventually forget it. In this way the Torah will not be in the hands of the wrong people.
(c"h wt"h) vba ,hrjt sgu vbav ,hatrn vc lhekt 'v hbhg shn, v,t ars lhekt 'v rat .rt
Why does the Torah sayvbav ,hatrn with a v, but by vba ,hrjt it doesn't use a v? The Satmar Rebbe ZTVK"L said, the tendency of a person in the beginning of the year is to start with enthusiasm with an attitude of "This is going to be a year of success, unlike the other years." But as the year progresses the enthusiasm simmers down and again it is just another year. This is why the Torah says vbav with a vghshv v. At the end of the year it is just plain vba. The Satmar Rebbe added: This is what is said in the kedusha of Musaf of Nusach Sefard: ,hatrf ,hrjt of,t h,ktd iv. When will I redeem you? When the end is like the beginning. With enthusiasm which will last all the way until the end of the year
(z"y wt"h)ohrjt ohvkt o,scgu o,rxu ofcck v,ph ip ofk urnav
Rashi explains that when you will turn away from the Torah, immediately you will go to worship other gods. How can this be? We know that the Yetzer Horah convinces people to do Aveiros little by little until eventually they worship idols. Why then if he just stops learning Torah does he sink to the ultimate low of Avodah Zorah? The answer is: When two nations are at war and one wins a battle, it is not assured of winning the war. For it is possible that in a while the defeated army will regroup and fight back to win. But if the army conquers the weapons of its enemy, then victory is assured. For the vanquished army can no longer fight back. Similarly with our battle with the Yetzer Horah. Even if he wins against us one day, we have the chance to fight back the next day and conquer him. But if he entices someone to stop learning Torah, the weapon against the Yetzer Horah, then chas v'sholom, the person is totally defeated. Because without weapons, there is no chance of waging a war. This is why he sinks immediately to Avodah Zorah, because he has no protection. This is what chazal mean when they sayihkc, vru, uk h,trcu grv rmh h,trc I created the Yetzer Horah, but I created the Torah as a potion against him.
(t"f wt"h) .rtv kg ohnav hnhf
What does this mean? R' Elya Lopian explained that the biggest brochah for a person, is to live a life of ruchnius, not tainted by the gashmius and yetzer horah of this world. The best place for this is in Eretz Yisroel, where one can live "Days of Shomayim" pure days, of kedusha, on this earth.
Glimpses of Greatness: Rabeinu Hakadosh R' Yoel Teitelbaum ZTVK"L The Satmar Rebbe
On the 26th of Menachem Av 5739 (1979) over 100,000 people crowded the narrow streets of Monroe, New York. They came to bid farewell to their Rebbe and Manhig, R' Yoel Teitelbaum, the holy Satmar Rebbe. But the crying by his levayeh was different than most. At a regular levayeh the close relatives grieve, and the others feel the pain somewhat, and sympathize with the family. By the bitter sobs in the crowd it was evident that tens of thousands present were close relatives. For the Rebbe wasn't merely a leader of the community. He was a father to all of his followers.
Not all of those present were of the Satmar community; there were many from other Chassidic groups. But even more impressive was the amount of people that came from yeshiva circles, and outright misnagdim. For in all echelons of Klal Yisroel the Satmar Rebbe evoked awe, and respect as a giant of Torah knowledge, tzidkus, kedusha, chesed, and uncompromising emes.
A number of biographies have been written about the Satmar Rebbe. A current author, a talmid of the Rebbe has published seven volumes of his biography and has not yet reached the most productive years...the last 40 years of his life! It therefore goes without saying that in these few lines we can only write anecdotes of his life...not a full description of it.
Of Holy Origin
Rabeinu Yoel, and his older brother R' Chaim Tzvi (father of today's Satmar Rebbe Shlita) were born to their father R Chananya Yom Tov Lipa Teitelbaum the great Rav of Sighet, Hungary, and a leader of Hungarian Jewry. He was a scion of the holy Yismach Moshe, R' Moshe Teitelbaum. For many years R' Chananya Yom Tov Lipa had no children. Perhaps the reason was that many tefillos were necessary to bring these two holy neshomos down to this world. The tefillos of his Rebbe the saintly R' Chaim Sanzer (Divrei Chaim), and his father R' Yekusiel Yehuda Teitelbaum the Yitav Lev coupled with His own tefillos brought him these two tzaddikim.
Even as youngsters the fame of these two "wonder sons" spread throughout Hungary. Their hasmodoh, kedusha, and zehiras in Mitzvos were already evident at a young age.
It was said that "Yoilish" the younger son world refrain from touching covered parts of his body so he could always be ready to learn Torah. A visitor to the home of the Sigheter Rov asked if it was true. The Rov led his visitor into a room there the three year old was fast asleep. He lifted his "tzitzis" and with them tickled the child's ear. In middle of his sleep the boy slipped his sleeve over his fingers, and raised his covered hand to scratch his itchy head.
Preparation for Tefillah
Even as a young child he spent much time in cleaning his body to be fit for tefillah. This is why although he was an amazingly punctual person, and did Mitzvos with a great zerizus he would start davening late to make sure his body was cleaned.
His mother, not happy with the fact that he spent so much time on this, asked one of the most honored Chassidim to give her son mussar about the matter. He approached the child and said: "You don't wear Tefillin yet. Why must you spend so much time on having a Guf Noki?" The young child answered with temimus, "I must still utter the name of Hashem with my mouth. Isn't this a great enough reason to cleanse myself?" The man, stunned by the kedusha of this child went back to the rebbitzen, and said:" I am not fit to give this child mussar. May he continue in this path."
As a youngster his hasmodoh knew no bounds. From the time of his bar mitzvah until the outbreak of World War II, a period of forty years the Satmar Rebbe never slept on a bed, except on Shabbos.
A well-known Rosh Yeshiva once stayed at a hotel for a few days. On the second day he noticed that the room service did not come to make the beds. When he complained the maid said: "I'm sorry but the last rabbi that stayed here never slept in his bed so I thought that all rabbis do the same." It was clarified that the last rabbi that stayed there was the Satmar Rebbe.
Gaon in Torah
Together with the hasmodoh he had a brilliant mind. R Yaakov Briesh, mechaber of the sefer Chelkas Yaakov once visited the Rebbe. He discussed with him a portion of his sefer regarding the difficult halachos of ribbis (interest in loans). He later expressed amazement about how the Rebbe mastered the subject even though he wasn't aware that Rav Breish was coming, and didn't prepare in advance.
The Tshebiner Rov said: "I marvel at the charifus of the Brisker Rov, and the Brisker Rov marvels at my bekius. And we both marvel at the charifus, and bekius of the Satmar Rebbe." R' Yerochum Reiner, the Radziner Rebbe, a great gaon it his own right, always made sure to spend a few weeks vacationing with the Satmar Rebbe. The reason, he said, was he has not seen anyone to be such a boki in all areas of the Torah, and especially in all the Midrashei Chazal that most people never even heard of.
The many seforim: Divrei Yoel al Hatorah, Sha'alos Uteshuvos Devrei Yoel, Chiddushei Sugyos, Vayoel Moshe, Al Hageulah Vaal Hatimurah...all testify to the Rebbe's gargantuan accomplishments in all areas of the Torah.
A litvishe yeshiva man from Eretz Yisroel once sat neat the Rebbe at his Pesach seder. Although the Rebbe carefully measured the shiurim of the kezeisim for his guests this guest was not trusting of this, and was busily measuring on his own. The Rebbe amusedly said, "Are you sure you had the shiur?" After the eating of the matzos again the Rebbe jokingly said this, and again after the afikomen.
Finally the man who didn't seem amused answered, "Did the Rebbe have the shiur of tcheppen (teasing)?" The Rebbe was deeply disturbed that he offended the man when he only meant to have a friendly exchange. He begged for mechila a number of times, and asked that the man come to him after Yom Tov. When the man came to him the Rebbe asked why he had come to America. He answered that he was here to raise six thousand dollars to marry off his daughter. The Rebbe promised that he would get him the money, and insisted that in the future when he comes for the chasuna needs of his other children that he will take care of everything. In the end the Rebbe financed the weddings of all four of his daughters.
A Godol Testifies
The following two stories were written by a grandson of the Manchester Rosh Yeshiva Horav Segal ZTVK"L.
A person once told the Manchester Rosh Yeshiva that he went to a famous eye doctor. This doctor said that by looking into the eyes of a person with his instruments he could tell if the man was suffering from diseases not even associated with the eyes. The patient asked the doctor if he was always able to do this or was he only able to do it sometimes. The doctor answered: "I am always able to do it except for one instance. Once I gazed into the eyes of a certain rabbi, and the inside illuminated so brightly that I wasn't able to see a thing." when the patient asked for the rabbi's name he said: Rabbi Yoel Teitelbaum of Williamsburg.
When the Manchester Rosh Yeshiva heard this he exclaimed: This is why I always go to visit the Rebbe... to see his holy eyes that light up.
In 1979 the Manchester Rosh Yeshiva traveled to America. One of the men of the community, not yet blessed with children, asked the Rosh Yeshiva if he could give his name to the Rebbe in a kvittel to daven for him.
When the Rosh Yeshiva finished speaking with the Rebbe and left the room, a talmid reminded him of his promise to give the kvittel to the Rebbe. The Rosh Yeshiva prepared himself for hours learning mussar before he entered the room of the Rebbe. He said, "I can't just go back again without a lot of preparation."
"But the Rosh Yeshiva promised that he would give the kvittel. Either the Rosh Yeshiva should go back to the Rebbe, or promise himself that the man will have a child." The Manchester Rosh yeshiva answered: "It is easier for me to promise that to go back to the Rebbe again." Indeed he promised, and that year the man, and his wife were blessed with a child.
Those who were zoche to be one of the thousands that spent Yomim Noraim and Sukkos with the Rebbe testified that the Rebbe went up to Shomayim, and took them with him. His avodah was like that not seen anywhere. People from all circles would come to the Rebbe's Hoshano Rabbah, which lasted a whole day, till right before Yom Tov. Between the Hakafos the Rebbe would deliver fiery Devrei Mussar which served as a cleanser for the Neshomas of those who were there.
People couldn't understand how the Rebbe, who was very frail had the strength to carry on such an avodah for a lengthy period of time. It was obvious to all that the strength came from a higher source.
The Rebbe suffered from pains in his legs. Yet on Simchas Torah he would dance for hours with the strength of a young man. Between Hakafos the Rebbe could not even walk to his seat. Yet the moment the next Hakafoh started he danced like no one else was able to.
In Hungary word of the Rebbe's Hakafos was even well known amongst the goyim. Once the mayor of the city, and an army officer came to witness the Hakafos. The mayor estimated that the Rebbe's Hakafos were equal to running over thirty miles. The officer commented that he would never punish any of his men in the army with the strenuous physical exertion of the Rebbe's Hakafos.
The Satmar community is known for many things. It has an amazing network of chesed instilled by the Rebbe and carried out until this day by the Rebbitzen TLIT"A. Millions of dollars of tzedaka are distributed by them, and others benefit from their amazing Bikur Cholim organization. The Rebbe also instilled in his kehilla the ability to live, and look like yidden did for hundreds of years. He taught that our tzurah (appearance) should not change just because we are in a foreign land in golus.
Perhaps what Satmar is best known for is its uncompromising shitah about Eretz Yisroel. It is a shitah misunderstood by most people, and scorned by many either because of ignorance or blatant disregard of the truth. To be sure, many Gedolei Yisroel did not agree with the Rebbe but they took his opinion seriously, and held him in high esteem.
In fact the Satmar shitah is not one conjured up by the Rebbe rather it is based on an open Gemorah in Meseches Kesubos Daf 111a. At the time of Churban Bayis Rishon, Hashem made Klal Yisroel swear 2 shavuos: Firstly, that during the years of golus they would not attempt to return to Eretz Yisroel with force. Secondly, they may not rebel against the nations of the world. With this Hashem made the goyim swear that they would not oppress us more then necessary. This was considered a simple fact for many generations.
When Zionism started raising its ugly head in Europe in the late 1800s many gedolim fought against it. The Rebbe's father the Kedushas Yom Tov stood like a beacon of light to guide yidden away from it. The Rebbe carried on the tradition of his ancestors.
The fights however, came with a heavy price. The Rebbe was vilified and degraded in the Zionist publications in Europe, and in Eretz Yisroel. In building his community, it would have been much easier financially had the Rebbe not spoken out so vehemently. But the Rebbe was not guided by ulterior motives. He was guided only by the truth.
One of the greatest compliments paid to the Rebbe came from the Brisker Rav, himself a fighter against Zionism. When the Satmar Rebbe was nominated to be head of the Eida Hachuredis, the Charedi community, in Yerushalayim there were those opposed because he was a Chassidishe Rebbe. The Brisker Rav strongly supported the nomination saying: The Satmar Rebbe is the only one that could lead the war against Zionists. The Rav was greatly mechabed the Rebbe in every one of their encounters.
The Rebbe wrote two brilliant seforim promulgating his shitah: they are Vayoel Moshe and Al Hageulah Vaal Hotimurah. During all of the Israeli military victories people scoffed at Satmar. Look how min Hashomayim they show us how wrong you are. The Rebbe was ridiculed for being so out of touch with the times. But he stood his ground not flinching far a moment. Like Avrohom Avinu who is called Ivri because he stood opposite the rest of the world.
Many yidden shattered by the Holocaust put their hopes in Zionism. Others, sincerely motivated by a love for Eretz Yisroel invested their lives for the country. Unfortunately with the downward spirit of the Israeli leaders who openly disclaim Torah, and are willing to compromise the security of the country for international fame there is a lot of disappointment throughout the populace. Millions of Israelis nurtured on secular Zionism have no connection to Yiddishkeit. How great are the eyes of the chachomim who could see many years into the future.
ZECHUSO YOGEIN OLEINU!
Nature Hashem: Radar... Hashem's Invention
In 1935 Sir Robert Watson Watt discovered radar. Radar determines how far away you are from an object. Radio waves are transmitted to the object. The sound bounces off the object and returns after a while like an echo. The further away the object the longer it will take for the sound to return. Radar helps ships know how far away they are from other ships. Every airport has radar scanners in the control tower to help plains avoid collisions. A very fine invention indeed.
Yet since the beginning of the briah, bats have been using radar through the instincts, and physical traits given to them by Hashem. Let us see some of the interesting facts behind this.
Is this not another testimony to the wonders of Hashem?
The Halacha is, that a person may place his animal on a plod of grass on Shabbos even though he knows for sure the animal will eat the grass. We don't consider it as if the man is doing an action of uprooting grass on Shabbos.
Yet in Dinei Nezikim we find (d"x c"ma 'x ypan iauj): If someone puts his animal down on the pasture of his friend, and the animal eats, the owner is chhj to pay as a ehzn. Why in this din is it considered like the man uprooted the grass yet in Hilchos Shabbos its not considered as if he did a melocho?
Answer to Last Weeks Sheilah
Why isn't onercug in the vftkn of r,ux if he eats cheese on ,ca?
ITEM OF INTEREST: Of False Messiahs: Der Krimer Part II
Just as the excitement of this mysterious nobleman who came to Vilna reached a crescendo the news reached R' Chaim Volozhiner. He was convinced that this was nothing more than a hoax. When he was asked how he knows this he answered:
"Let me tell you in what sort of a setting Moshaich will come. I come home from yeshiva one morning after Shachris. The rebbitzen asks me: "Chaim do you want to eat breakfast now?" I answer, "Relka I am not yet prepared for shiur today. I can't eat until I go into the sugya of gemmoro that I will be giving a shiur on today." "Good," she says. "While you prepare for shiur I will do some shopping. I am leaving the soup cooking on the stove. Please make sure it doesn't burn. I know that when you are engrossed in gemmoro you can become forgetful. Please remember." The rebbitzen goes to the market. I open my sefer and begin to learn the sugya. Suddenly, I sense the sun shining outside with an intensity much greater than normal. It is so unusually clear outside. The birds singing outside sounds much sweeter than usual. Suddenly I hear the noise of crowds outside in the street. I stick my head out the window, and I see the shoemaker rushing towards me. "What happened to the sun, and the birds?" I ask. "Why are the trees giving off new blossoms?" "Didn't the Rov hear?" he asks. "Moshaich is here!"
Immediately I run to the closet to don my Shabbos kapoteh to greet Moshaich. But unfortunately it is missing a button. It fell off on Matzoei Shabbos...I asked Relkah to fix it. She said I have a whole week to fix it. Now I need that button fixed.
The rebbitzen returns quickly. "Chaim" she exclaims. "You forgot about the soup. It is burning!" "Relka", I say, "forget about the soup. I'll forget about my button. Let's go out together and greet Moshaich."
The idea of this anecdote is: Moshaich will not come amidst great pomp, and fanfare. He will come in a regular manner, on a regular day, while people are busy with their regular day to day affairs.
Not only didn't R' Chaim believe he was Moshaich but he suspected him of plotting something sinister against the yidden. With his wisdom he understood that this character was putting on a nice show as if he was some sort of savior. On reality he could be an informer to the government about those that have private businesses, and didn't pay taxes. What trouble awaited these yidden. Immediately, R' Chaim sent a messenger to the leaders of the Vilna Jewish community. He told them to secretly warn the merchants in Vilna that if they possess merchandise, and are not paying taxes on it to get rid of it right away.
Some wondered abort R' Chaim suspecting such a tzaddik of wrongdoing but they did as he said. In a couple of days policemen flocked to the marketplace.
Anticipating a major bust they went from store to store searching for hidden goods. Lo and behold, who was showing them around if not the noble Jew who was supposed to be Moshaich. Except now he was no longer wearing his exotic clothing. He was dressed in plain clothes. Not one Jew was caught with hidden goods, and there was much rejoicing in Vilna.
This scoundrel was forced to leave Vilna. After a while it became known that he was from the Crimean Islands. He thereby became known as the Krimer, which could also mean in Yiddish the crooked one.
Whether it was ruach Hakodesh in the part of R' Chaim Volozhiner or plain pikchus...we don't know. But one thing we definitely learn from the story...not to get caught up in Messianic fervor without the consent of our gedolim.
Story: Saved by a Kemea (Part IV)
It wasn't long before news spread to the adjoining city that an iluy, a great talmid chochom was staying at the next town. The Rov of the city while speaking to the innkeeper expressed his desire to meet this bochur so they could discuss Torah topics together. The bochur arrived at the house of the Rov, escorted by the innkeeper's two sons.
The Rov greeted the bochur, and accorded him great honor. After exchanging pleasantries they all say down to discuss Divrei Torah. The two boys tried understanding the conversation at first but after a while gave up. It was a quick heated exchange of sharp Torah. The Rov could not contain his admiration for this bochur who displayed vast bekius and sharpness. At the end of the conversation the Rov commented that it's been a long time since he has had such an enjoyable exchange in learning. He left the room to request some hot drinks.
On a short while the Rav's daughter entered with some drinks, and tasty pastries. One of the brothers whispered to the other, "I wonder if the Rov has an eye on this bochur to marry his daughter." This brother answered, "We also have a sister, the daughter of a Talmid chochom. Since our family discovered this bochur we should be zoche to get him for our sister." Both of them agreed to suggest this shidduch to their parents.
The next day the innkeeper, upon the suggestion of his sons called the bochur to his private room. "I don't have to tell you how highly your family thinks of you," he said. "You have added so much to our family in the short time that you've been here. We have a daughter who has reached the age of marriage. She is a wonderful girl, and with the help of Hashem will make a fine wife. "I would be very grateful to have you as a son in law. I have the means to support you generously so that you could continue learning with peace of mind."
The bochur, taken somewhat by surprise, and slightly embarrassed looked downward in silence. After a few minutes he said with a smile, "I would be honored to be your son in law." The room was filled with happiness. In no time the girl was notified of the shidduch which she had been secretly hoping for. The bochur remembered the words of his holy Rebbe of Zlotchev, and was therefore ecstatic that the first offer of a shidduch came from a place so perfect for him. That night a fancy seudah was served in honor of the engagement. Many guests arrived with heartfelt wishes of Mazel Tov, and a tanoim was written. A date was set for the chasuna for a few weeks later. perfect for him. Immediately, the next day preparations were underway.
The day was finally here. All the people of the town were dressed in their fineries. Many elaborate dishes were prepared for the chasuna. Horse drawn wagons arrived from the main city with guests invited to the chasuna, amongst them many dignitaries. The Rov of the city arrived. It was obvious that was he was disappointed at not getting this choson to be his own son in law. When he wished Mazel Tov to the father of the kallah he said, "You are a lucky man. I would have given anything to be zoche to such a choson." The innkeeper even happier now that he heard the Rov's opinion of his future son in law.
The orchestra was ready to play music for the chupah. The hall was filled to capacity. The candles were lit. Everyone looked to the back of the hall where the choson was ready to come down to the chupah. It was a very moving sight.
As the choson was about to walk down to the chupah he suddenly stopped. He mumbled to himself... "The kemea... I almost totally forgot." The crowd wondered why he was mumbling. He told the couple walking him down to the chupah that he must speak to the Rov. There was a strained silence in the room as the choson, and his companion left the hall to a side room. The parents of the kallah were dumbfounded. What was happening?
Outside the hall the choson told the Rov, and his future in laws: "Please forgive me for causing a delay but I totally forgot to fulfill the words of my Rebbe. Before I left home R' Yechiel Mechel of Zlotchev gave me a kemea. He put it in the corner flap of my talis katan, and told me to have the Rov read it before the chupah. Because of the tumult in preparing for the chasuna I totally forgot about it until just now."
He removed the kemea... untied the string around it, and handed it to the Rov. The Rov read it out loud: "Is it proper for a brother to marry his sister?" The choson, the Rov, and the companions wondered as to the meaning of this. What kind of a question is this? Everyone knows that this is prohibited. What does it have to do with us?
As they were pondering the meaning of this question the father of the kallah came out. "Excuse me for disturbing but what is holding up the proceedings?"
The Rov showed him the strange Kemea. The father looked at the choson, and at the Kemea, his face showing astonishment. "Tell me. Where did you originally come from, and who are your parents? Maybe that would shed some light on this situation." In a trembling voice the choson told them his whole story. His origins, and his whereabouts. The Rov and the others looked at the choson with great interest not noticing that the innkeeper turned pale and weak.
"What was the name of the goy who took care of you?" asked the innkeeper.
"Ivan" was the answer.
Suddenly the innkeeper fell onto the shoulders of the choson.
"My son, my son," he cried. "We never imagined that you would still be alive. We mourned over you as if you were dead. Oy Hashem! How could we ever thank you for this great chesed?"
The Rov and those present could not believe what they had just witnessed. Father and son were hugging each other. Those in the hall could not have imagined what was taking place outside. At that moment the door opened. The innkeeper's wife came in exclaiming, "What has happened? We were all waiting for things to begin then all of a sudden we heard screaming."
"My dear wife," said the innkeeper. "Do you still remember our baby that we left behind in prison... whom we assumed was dead? Here he is standing before you."
"My son? Please don't play jokes with me." But after seeing how serious everyone was, and indeed the choson resembled her, she broke out in deep sobs, "My son! My son!"
Now the Rov said, "We must thank Hashem for the great chesed that he did before our very eyes. If not for this kemea from R' Yechiel Mechel could you imagine what tragedy would have happened? This is a great moment. But Rabosei let us not forget that there is a large crowd in the hall waiting for a chupah to begin. Let us not disappoint them. Let us bring the choson and kallah to the chupah.
All those present looked at the Rov puzzled. How could we possibly go through with the chupah when the choson and kallah are brother and sister?
"R' Yisroel," said the Rov, "You know how much I wanted this boy as a choson for my daughter. You know that she is also worthy of such a boy. I propose we go on with the chasuna."
The innkeeper with tears of joy in his eyes nodded approvingly.
The crowd was happy to go on with the chupah. You could imagine how bewildered they were to find out that it was a different kallah that walked down to the chupah. But the news spread rather quickly. What an amazing story that unfolded before their very eyes. For many years such a happy lebedike chasuna was not seen in those parts. Even the would be kallah who was not getting married was happy for she had regained her long lost brother and was saved from tragedy... by a kemea.