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Wrong Address

And if she has not the means for a lamb, then she should bring two turtle-doves or two young pigeons (12:8)

When I come to stand before the heavenly court, I do not fear the question: "Why weren't you Moses?" I was not equipped to be Moses. But I tremble for the day that it will be demanded of me: "Why weren't you Zushe?"

- Rabbi Zushe of Anipol

Rebbetzin Devorah Leah, daughter of Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Lubavitch, told:

In the city of Vitebsk lived two tea merchants, both named Hosheia, known as 'Big Hoisha' and 'Little Hoisha'. 'Big Hoisha' was a wealthy man, with a large, respectable establishment and a well-developed distribution network. 'Little Hoisha' was a small-time operator, running his business from hand to mouth, forever scrambling for loans to keep it afloat.

One day a message arrived that one of Little Hoisha's had been confiscated at the border by customs officials. For the poor man, this spelled utter ruin. Not only would he loose everything, he would be left with crushing debts which he would never be able to repay.

"I was there" Devorah Leah related "when they broke the news to Reb Hoisha, who was in Lubavitch at the time. The unfortunate man collapsed in a dead faint; time and again they revived him, but as soon as he remembered what had occurred, he would collapsed once more.

"We ran to my father and told him of Reb Hoisha's state. Father instructed that when Reb Hoisha is again revived, we should tell him that the messenger is mistaken. Shortly thereafter, the matter was indeed clarified. It turned out that the confiscated shipment belonged to the other Hoisha the tea merchant, 'Big Hoisha', who would hardly feel the loss.

"Now father always maintained that he never performed supernatural wonders. Now, the chassidim who had witnessed the incident claimed that they had caught him red-handed with a supernatural feat. "You are mistaken," replied father to this 'accusation', "there is nothing miraculous about my prediction. You see, our sages tell us that whenever the Almighty causes a person to undergo a challenge or trial in his life, He always provides him with the capacity and fortitude to bear it and to learn from the experience. So when I saw a calamity which Reb Hoisha was not equipped to deal with, I understood that it was not meant for him. Obviously, there must have been some misunderstanding…"



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