CHASSIDISHE STORY ON THE PARSHA
ואנכי הסתר אסתיר פני (וילך לא: יח)But I will indeed have concealed My face…
Following WWII, in 1948, the Bilgorai Rav zt’’l was sent to Europe by his brother Maran Rebbe Aharon of Belz zt’’l to provide chizuk (strength) to the heimishe people survivors of the war. One Erev Shabbos, a bochur named Avraham Karp z’’l, knocked on the door where the Bilgorai Rav was staying in Paris. A bochur by the name of Avrohom Karp (R’ Avrohom was the son of the shochet from Prompil, which was situated near the city of Bilgorai. R’ Avrohom later moved to Montreal, where he was a renowned Daf Yomi Maggid Shiur.)
The bochur Avrohom was currently learning in a Yeshiva near Paris, and he asked the Bilgorai Rav’s shamesh if he could meet the Rav. The shamesh explained that now wasn’t a good time since the Rav was resting for Shabbos and told him to return later. However, the bochur asked if he could meet the Bilgorai Rav now, adding that he just wanted to shake his hands and still needed to return to Yeshiva before Shabbos.
After begging relentlessly, Avrohom told the shamesh to tell the Bilgorai Rav that the son of the shochet from Prompil is here, and he wants to see him. The shamesh relayed his message, and the Bilgorai Rav said to allow him inside.
The Bilgorai Rav was happy that the bochur Avrohom Karp survived the war. Avrohom asked the Rav, “I came here to ask a difficult question that pains me terribly.” He continued, “My father wanted to move from Galicia to America or Eretz Yisroel, and since he was a Belzer Chassid, he asked Maran Rebbe Aharon of Belz zt’’l permission, but Maran didn’t allow him to move. And now, only I remained the sole survivor from our family; the rest of them perished in the war.” The bochur wanted to understand how such a thing could’ve happened.
The Bilgorai Rav was moved. He placed his head in his hands, deep in thought. After a few minutes, the Bilgorai Rav answered him. “I asked my brother, Maran Reb Aharon of Belz, the same question, and he answered me: ‘It says in the pasuk ואנכי הסתר אסתיר פני – why does it have a double phrase of – הסתר אסתיר hiding? The answer is that there are two types of “הסתרת פנים’ – of Hashem hiding His face. At times, Hashem covers the bad, which causes a stronger Hester Panim – which Hashem reveals to Tzaddikim the bad, which appears to them as if it’s perfect.” The Bilgorai Rav concluded, “Before the war’s outbreak, there was a Hester Panim that this evil appeared to the tzaddikim as something good!”
The Bilgorai Rav asked the bochur Avrohom to stay for Shabbos, but Avrohom said that he made a ‘neder’ – a promise not to sleep in the city of Paris due to its spiritual decline. The Bilgorai Rav offered to annul his vow, but R’ Avrohom refused for fear of spiritually harming his neshamah – soul.
Filed under Parshas Vayelech | Reb Aharon of Belz