A Story About A Tailor

Shalom Aleichem!

Mazel tov to QC alumni Yishai & Yaffa Maynard on the birth of a son, Simon David!

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I came across this story, and am unsure what the meaning is. I am sharing it with you, in the hopes that you can help shed light on what is going on here.

Once upon a time, there was someone who wanted to travel to Israel. Before making the final decision, he wished to receive a blessing from a tzaddik (righteous person). So he went from tzaddik to tzaddik — yet no one was willing to give him a blessing to move to the Holy Land. Eventually, he reached the village of Liozna, and visited the Alter Rebbe.

“Go ask Reb Leib Sarah’s,” the Alter Rebbe told him. “If he gives you permission, then you can go. Tell him I sent you for advice concerning how to travel to the Land of Israel.”

“How will I ever find him,” the chassid asked, “he travels from place to place!”

“Go to such-and-such an inn — that’s where you’ll find him,” the Alter Rebbe replied.

“Yet how will I recognize him? He is one of the hidden tzaddikim!”

“I’ll give you a sign. While you are staying at that inn, a wagon full of poor people will arrive. An argument will break out, and they will be screaming at each other. The man who yells the loudest — that is Reb Leib Sarah’s.”

The chassid travelled to the inn and rented a room. Days passed, and then weeks.

In the middle of the night, he awoke to voices from outside; he rubbed his eyes and went outside. He saw a wagon full of people with tattered clothing. In front of his eyes, an argument broke out among the peasants, and the shouts of one of them — the tallest of the group — were particularly loud.

He immediately understood that he had finally encountered Reb Leib Sarah’s. In order not to miss his chance, he immediately approached him and said, “The Alter Rebbe sent me to you for your advice how to travel to the Holy Land.”

“Go to Berditchev. There is a tailor who lives on such-and-such a street. Ask him to sew you a new garment. When it comes time to affix the buttons, he will have you try it on. At the moment he begins to sing a niggun (chassidic melody), ask him if you should travel to Israel.”

The chassid traveled to Berditchev, found the tailor, and ordered a garment. The tailor had two assistants, one of whom was Reb Mordechai of Chernobyl.

When the garment was ready, the tailor asked him to try it on so he could mark where to place the buttons. He sang a niggun to himself, and the chassid asked if he should travel to Israel.

“You should go! But don’t ever remove this garment!”

The chassid understood that this tailor was also one of the hidden tzaddikim. Hoping to see him again the following day, he returned to the tailor’s home, but he was no where to be found.

Shabbat Shalom!