ושחט אותו…(ויקרא א:יא)
And you shall slaughter it…
R’ Shulem Shochet (Etner) a’’h was from the pious elders in Belz living in the “East Side” of New York, who merited knowing The Frierdige Rav, Maran Reb Yissocher Dov Rokeach zt’’l, when he served as a shochet in the town of Lizensk.
R’ Shulem once visited a town near Lizensk and heard that the Frierdige Rav was staying in a town nearby for Shabbos. So R’ Shulem came to greet the Rebbe. The Frierdige Rav smiled and said, “Shulem, you came in perfect timing.” R’ Shulem asked, “What does the Rebbe mean?” The Frierdige Rav replied, “I need to slaughter two chickens for Shabbos and don’t feel comfortable using the town’s shochet. I’m not saying he’s not a conscientious shochet, which would cause him to lose his position. However, I have my own personal reasons, and since you arrived, please slaughter two chickens; no one has to know about it.”
R’ Shulem slaughtered the chickens, and the Frierdige Rav was grateful to Hashem for sending him this messenger and preventing him from humiliating the local shochet. Being in a happy mood, the Frierdige Rav told R’ Shulem that he could choose a reward to live long or be cognizant throughout his life. R’ Shulem was torn between the two but chose clarity, for if one doesn’t always have clarity, what is worth living for.
And the Frierdige Rav respnded. “You know what, I’ll bless you with both!” And R’ Shulem merited longevity – and clarity; he passed away at age 98, fully aware.