The Jew With A Beautiful Face

Nov 5th, 2009 by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Spiritual Growth
One of the Shpole Zeide’s comrades was Rabbi Mordechai, the first Nes’chizsher rebbe. (He was the father of the Kavler rebbe, Rabbi Leib, who was the father-in-law of the Trisker maggid. He was also the father of the Ustiler rebbe, Rabbi Yosele, and of the second Nes’chizsher rebbe, Rabbi Yitzchak, whose teachings are presented in Toldos Yitzchak.) Rabbi Mordechai decided that he too (like the Shpole Zeide) would become a nistar, a hidden tzaddik. But he had an elevated public persona. He filled the rabbinical post in Leshnav, a small shtetl near Brod.

While rabbi of Leshnav, he came to mistrust the shtetl shochet (ritual slaughterer). And so he set out by foot to Brod, to look for another shochet.

As he was passing through a forest, a Jew with a beautiful face emerged from a small path and joined him.

“Where is a Jew going, and for what reason?” he asked Rabbi Mordechai. Rabbi Mordechai answered, “I am going to Brod to look for a shochet, because I do not trust the one we have.”

The man told him, “Is that so? I am no longer a young man. I remember once when a rabbi dismissed a shochet. And do you know what happened in the end? With my own eyes, I saw the shochet and his wife and children became wandering beggars. Nu! I saw what happened to the shochet– but I have not yet seen what happened to the rabbi.”

With these last words the man disappears. Rabbi Mordechai believed that this had been an appearance of Elijah the prophet, who had come to prevent him from committing a great injustice. And so he set aside his misgivings, went back home and continued to remain a nistar.

Chasidishe Maasiyos

Yaacov Dovid Shulman’s Writings can be found at and