The Golden Goblet

Rabbi Avraham Yissachar Dov Rabinowicz of Radomsk (1843-1892) once joined Rabbi Chaim Halberstam of Sanz (1793-1896) for the Pesach Seder. Both rabbis were great leaders in their own right; the former was the second Rebbe of the Radomsk Chassidic dynasty, and the latter was the founder of the Sanz Chassidic dynasty.

A painful historical note is that both Rabbi Avraham Yissachar Dov and his second son and successor Rabbi Yechezkel suffered from diabetes, and passed away at 48. His grandson (the fourth and final Rebbe of the Radomsk legacy) also suffered from diabates; however, insulin was invented in 1921, and he did not die of diabetes. The Nazis murdered him along with his entire family in 1942 in the Warsaw ghetto.

Back to the story: Rabbi Avraham Yissachar Dov was shocked to notice that Rabbi Chaim used a golden goblet for kiddush, which sat prominently on a golden plate. This display of opulence was quite uncharacteristic of the humble and unassuming Rebbe.

Noting Rabbi Avraham Yissachar Dov’s incredulity, Rabbi Chaim said: “A wealthy, childless man who was getting on in years asked permission to give me this cup and saucer as a gift. He stipulated that if I would think of him when I make Kiddush, it would be of great merit to him after he passes away.”

The following year, Rabbi Avraham Yissachar Dov returned for Pesach, and noticed that Rabbi Chaim had returned to using a simple glass cup for Kiddush, as he always had in the past.

Rabbi Chaim offered an explanation: “I gave the cup and saucer as a security deposit in exchange for funds to distribute as tzedakah. The man who gave me the cup — he is no longer in this world — came to me in a dream and requested that I return to using his cup for Kiddush. But what can I do? I don’t have any money to retrieve the goblet, because any time I get any money, I give it to tzedakah.”

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What do you think about this story? Perhaps share it at a holiday meal and let me know after the holiday how your family and guests reacted to it. Feel free to post below in the comments. I have my own thoughts, but time is too short to write them now. I look forward to hearing from you!