Monday, August 4, 2008

The Words of a Tzaddik

Chazal tell us that a righteous person makes a decree and Hashem fulfills it (Moed Katan 16.)
Once, a very simple Jew who lived in Bnei Brak had a serious problem. A short time before Shabbos, his pipe burst and the only way to shut down the water in his own apartment was through closing the main, which would deprive many other families of water. It seemed that the only thing he could do would be to leave the water on throughout Shabbos, with all of the attendant loss of water, money, and the damage that it might entail. Since it was much too late to call a plumber before Shabbos, the man felt that he had no other choice but to leave the water running. Just before Shabbos, he was struck with another idea.
The man ran to the Chazon Ish, zt”l, and told him his trouble.
“But how can I help you?” asked the Gadol. “I’m not a plumber!”
“Please just say that the water will stop flowing in my house.”
Bemused, the Chazon Ish repeated this phrase and wished the man a good Shabbos.
Amazingly, the water remained off only in this man’s house throughout the entire Shabbos.
After Shabbos, this man went back to the Chazon Ish with a different problem.
He implored, “Rebbi, I need my water back on now that it is Motzei Shabbos and I have easily found a plumber to fix the trouble. Please turn it back on—I have no water in my house!”
Surprised, the Chazon Ish asked, “But how do you expect me to help you now?”
The man responded, “I would like you to say that my water should start to flow again!”
No less bemused than before, the Gadol did so and then wished the man Gut voch.
And the water started to run again through the repaired pipes!


Spiritual Dan said...

And a curse of the righteous is never uttered in vain.

Micha Golshevsky said...

Of course you are quite correct.
Cursing another, especially if one knows his curse is likely to be efficacious is no simple matter however.
When Rav Yisrael Salanter was told about a person whose every curse was fulfilled he made a surprising statement: "If so this man must vigilantly guard his tongue from ever uttering a curse. For if this man utters a curse he is no better than an "adam hamazik" a perpetrator who strikes another, for what is the difference if one damages with a curse or a blow?"
I later found that this concept emerges from the words of the Ramak (in a very different context.)

Neil Harris said...

As an aside, I'll share a story I heard from a talmud of Rav Hutner's

On morning Rav Hutner took several of his tamidim from Chaim Berlin in his car (with his driver) for a ride to Prospect Park (Brooklyn) on a crisp October day. They got out of the car and walked to the pond in the middle of the park. Rav Hutner instructed the group of 3 bochrim to look at the lake and pointed out that you could see the bottom of the pond. "This mind of the Chazon Ish is as clear as this lake", Rav Hutner said. Then they returned to Chaim Berlin.

Such was the Chazon Ish zt"l.