Page 98 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 46

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JEWISH BOOK ANNUAL
de c re e o f th e holy one , in th e m a n n e r th a t h e always d em a n d ­
e d .”24
Likewise, in th e sh o r t tale
Between Gabriel and Gabriel
,25 we
see th e g rea tne ss o f th e zadd ik . O n e Passover eve, Rabbi Levi
Y itzhak o f B e rd itchev was busy with p re p a ra t io n s fo r th e Sede r .
Gabriel, his a t te n d a n t , hav ing fas ted all day , since he was a
f irs tbo rn , felt very weak. H e s lipped qu ietly in to th e k itchen
an d asked th e Rabb i’s wife fo r some po ta toes , which she
p rom p tly gave him . However, no soo n e r d id he s tre tch o u t his
h a n d to take th e p late , th a n he h e a rd a voice, “G ab rie l, come
h e re a t once !” I t was th e Rabb i’s voice. Scared o u t o f his wits,
he d ro p p e d th e p la te and th e po ta toes sca tte red . H e ru sh e d
in to th e Rabb i’s d en , an d in a trem b l in g voice re sp o n d e d : “H e re
I am Rabb i.” T h e Rabbi looked u p su rp r ised , saying quietly:
“I t w asn’t you th a t I called, b u t G abriel th e an g e l .”
We see, th en , th a t angels serve the zadd ik m uch like h um a n
servan ts , as we f ind with A b rah am an d J a co b .26 Inc iden ta lly ,
we le a rn a n o th e r im p o r ta n t concep t from this sh o r t ballad :
“T h e Holy O ne , blessed be H e , causes no im p ro p e r d e e d to
be comm itted on accoun t o f a zadd ik .”27 H ence , th e Rabb i’s
ou tc ry p re v e n te d G ab rie l the shamm ash a t th e very last m om en t
from b re ak in g his fast an d from ac ting im p ro p e r ly by e a ting
b e fo re th e Seder.
6. FA ITH IN THE ALM IGH TY
O n e o f the ca rd ina l p rinc ip les o f H asid ism is fa ith in th e
A lm ighty in every c ircum s tance in life — even u n d e r th e m ost
un favo rab le cond itions . T h is is in th e sp ir it o f th e ta lm ud ic d ic­
tum : “Even if a sh a rp sword rests on a m a n ’s neck , he shou ld
no t desist from p ra y e r ,28 an d finds exp ress ion in th e p o p u la r
q uo ta tion : “G o d ’s h e lp comes as (swiftly as) a b link o f th e eye .”29
24 It should be observed that God is bound by Torah law, since He created
the world according to the Torah, which served as a kind o f blueprint for
the success o f society.
25 i.e., between Gabriel, the attendant o f Rabbi Levi Yitzhak and Gabriel the
angel, who also attended him.
26 See Rashi on Genesis 32:2-3; 28:12; 18:2.
27 Cf. Yevamot 99b; Ketubot 28b; Hullin 5b.
28 Berakhot 10a.
29 Cf. Jerusalem Talmud, end o f tractate Berakhot.