Tuesday, March 25, 2008

“…And Walk Humbly With Hashem, Your G-d”

Rebbe Shlomo of Zvil zt”l decided to abandon his exalted position and ascend to the Holy Land, taking with him only his grandson, Reb Mordche’le. The town was aghast when they heard that their leader was leaving them, and accompanied them as far along the way as possible. As soon as the two alighted the ship, the Rebbe turned to his grandson and said, “Now we can toss our tzetele of Rabbanus into the ocean!” He had decided long before that when he arrived in Eretz Yisroel, he would assume the identity of a simple Jew.

For three years, he lived in terrible poverty, and learned with incredible diligence in a small corner of the Chayei Olam Yeshivah. The people of Jerusalem knew him only as a man from Zvil, quiet and studious, steeped in kedushah.

During that time, Rav Yosef Chayim Zonnenfeld zt”l received a sum of money earmarked for the “Admor of Zvil”; but since no one in Jerusalem answered to that name, he kept the money in trust.

One day, a tourist from Zvil turned up in the Chayei Olam Yeshivah and noticed the masmid off in the corner. “Who is that man over there?” he asked.

“Oh, just a Jew from Zvil.”

“From Zvil, you say?” the visitor wondered. Drawing closer, he saw that the man’s face seemed familiar somehow. Wait, he looked just like…the Rebbe of Zvil!

“But this is the Rebbe of Zvil!” he cried. The rest of the yeshivah was shocked to find that stranger learning quietly among them for three years was the famous Admor himself!

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