Cedars of Lebanon: Hasidic Tales: Second Period
Many heads of families of Berditchev complained to the rabbi of Rizhyn that their sons-in-law had left wives and children in order to become his disciples, and when they asked him to persuade the youths to return home, he told them about a young man who had lived in the days of the Great Maggid. He had quitted his father-in-law’s house to go to the maggid. They had fetched him back and he had pledged on a hand-clasp that he would stay at home. Yet shortly thereafter he was gone. Now his father-in-law got the rav of the town to declare that this broken promise was cause for divorce. The young man was thus deprived of all means of subsistence. Soon he fell ill and died.
When the zaddik had finished his story, he added: “And now, my good men, when the Messiah comes, the young man will hail his father-in-law before his court of justice. The father-in-law will quote the rav of the town, and the rav will quote a passage from the commentary on the Shulhan Arukh. Then the Messiah will ask the young man why after giving his hand on it that he would remain at home he broke his promise just the same, and the young man will say, ‘I just had to go to the rabbi!’ In the end the Messiah will pronounce judgment. To the father-in-law he will say: ‘You took the rav’s word as your authority and so you are justified.’ And to the rav he will say: ‘You took the law as your authority and so you are justified.’
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