CHASSIDISHE STORY ON THE PARSHA
אמור אל האהרן קח מטך (וארא ז:יט)Say to Aaron, "Take your staff"
Rashi says that Moshe didn’t hit the water since he didn’t want to cause harm to something that did good to him. Since the water protected him when his mother placed him inside as a baby, therefore, he didn’t want to inflict the water.
The wife of R’ Naftuli Veiner (Gottesman) z’’l, Mrs. Esther Raitza a’’h, baked י’’ב חלות for Reb Aharon of Belz – the 12 challos that is customary to use for Hamotzi on Shabbos by the Rebbes of Belz. She started baking for Reb Aharon before the war in Vienna and maintained the tradition after the war in Eretz Yisroel.
Baking these holy challos entailed both physical and spiritual devotion on Mrs. Esther Raitza’s end. While sifting the flour (she sifted the course flour 13 times, just like in the times of the Beis Hamikdash when preparing the loaves of bread for the Lechem Hapanim), she said continuous prayers and asked Hashem to bless these challos.
Reb Aharon zt’’l used to thank her profusely and acknowledged and tasted the sacredness of these special challos.
One Shabbos, Reb Aharon’s gabbaim (attendants) decided to hand over the privilege of baking the 12 challah loaves for the Shalosh Seudos meal to someone else, and the gabbai put away Mrs. Esther Reitza’s challahs and placed the other challos on the Rebbe’s holy table.
Mrs. Gottesman was standing in the women’s gallery and noticed that those challos were not the ones that she baked. She was pained by the fact, but couldn’t do anything about it and stood there just to watch Reb Aharon use the others challos.
When Reb Aharon entered the room and saw the challos on his “tisch” (table where the Rebbe conducts his meal amongst his chassidim), he asked the gabbai if they put away the challos that R’ Naftuli Veiner brought. The gabbai answered “No.”
Reb Aharon asked again, “Where are those challos?” The gabbai felt awkward, but responded “They’re not here.”
“If so,” replied Reb Aharon sitting down on his chair, “I won’t wash for Shalosh Seudos!”
The gabbaim started searching all over for Reb Naftuli Veiner’s wife Esther Reitza’s challos until they found them and placed them on the Rebbe’s tisch.
During this whole episode, Mrs. Esther Raitza stood in the women’s gallery wiping away her tears while quietly murmuring, “Only Hashem and the holy Rebbe knows how many prayers and effort were instilled in these challos and thanks to Hashem the holy challos weren’t shamed!”
Note: The first two generations named after their saintly great grandmother Esther Raitza were born on special days such as on Shabbos, Yom Tov, Erev or Motzei Shabbos or Yom Tov.
R’ Naftuli z’’l & Mrs. Esther Raitza Gottesman a’’h are buried a few rows in front of Reb Aharon of Belz tzion.
Filed under Parshas Vaeira | Reb Aharon of Belz