Love of the Land

For the week ending 8 December 2012 / 23 Kislev 5773

A Groom to the Rescue

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
The Color of HeavenArtscroll

Years before they had the opportunity of praying at the grave of Rabbi Nachman of Breslov in the Ukrainian city of Uman, the Breslover Chassidim in Eretz Yisrael would gather on Rosh Hashana at the tomb of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai in Meron. For 62 years the Jew who led the services was a Rabbi Kalmanovitz from Yerushalayim. His grandson, Rabbi Yisroel Gellis, relates a fascinating story about how he merited such a long life.

As a young man his grandfather and other hungry youths seized every opportunity to participate in a wedding where they could enjoy some of the food. At one particular wedding the chatan failed to show up. It turned out that he had discovered something about the kallah which he had not been aware of and felt he had been duped.

The rav of Yerushalayim, Rabbi Shmuel Salant, who had been invited to serve as mesader kiddushin, turned to the young men surrounding him and cried:

"Have pity on a Jewish daughter! We cannot allow a Jewish daughter to suffer such shame! I promise any one of you who agrees to marry her that he will live a long life and see great-great-grandchildren!"

In those days when famine and disease cut short so many lives, such a blessing was not taken lightly. The young Kalmanovitz agreed to marry the abandoned kallah and together they built a happy, wholesome family and lived to see great-great-grandchildren.

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