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Selected Short Stories
Volume Three



Published by
770 Eastern Parkway
Brooklyn, N.Y. 11213

5750  1990

Preface to Volume One
Foreword to Volume Three

The Matzah Was Still Warm
The Rooster's Message
The Succah Mobile
A Great Miracle Happened Here
The Horse That Wouldn't Eat Latkes
The Plot that Boomeranged

The "Special Delivery" Letter
The Treasure Hunt
The Maggid's Tefillin
The Wonder Cure
The Wedding Gift
The Bagel Vendor
The Undercover Agent
Bandits At Kiddush L'Vanah
The Dancing Bear
The Mysterious Broommaker
It Was No Mistake
The Errand
The Queer Beggar
The Hide Stripper
The Shamash Of Nikolsburg

The Choice
Horse-Shoe Bendet
On The Horns Of A Gazelle
A Marriage Made In Heaven
The Bris That Made Elijah Very Happy
The Mysterious Sandek
"Korach" of Cracow
King For A Day
The Cardinal And The Counsellor
The Refugee Girl
The Lamplighter's Reward
The Sponge War of Rhodos
The Ka'ach
In Witness Whereof
The Fish Came Back

The Matzah Was
Still Warm

An the ancient city of Mainz there once lived a great
and saintly Torah scholar, whose name was Rabbi
Amnon. He had a son called Eliezer, whom he
brought up in Torah learning and piety. When the
time came for Rabbi Amnon to depart from this life,
one of the last things he told his son was, "Do not
ever cross the Danube River!"

Eliezer lost not only his father, but also his
teacher. He wanted very much to "wander out to a
place of Torah." Now, his father had a distant rela-
tive, the famous Rabbi Yehudah heChassid, who
headed an equally famous yeshivah in Regensburg
(Ratisbon). However, not only was that city a long
distance away, but to get to it he would have to cross
the Danube. For many days and weeks Eliezer did
not know what to do: to go there, or to stay home. The
urge to learn Torah and the secrets of the inner light
of the Torah for which Rabbi Yehudah heChassid
was so well known, became greater and greater,
until Eliezer decided to go there.

Eliezer had a young wife and child, and he was
prepared to leave them for a period of time to satisfy
his craving for Torah. Knowing how he felt about the

journey, his wife agreed to his going. So Eliezer bade
good-bye to his wife and child, and with a heart full
of anticipation, he set out on the long journey to

When Eliezer finally appeared before Rabbi
Yehudah heChassid, the saintly sage told him: "I
should not welcome you here, inasmuch as you dis-
obeyed your father's order. But for the sake of your
late father, I will permit you to stay in my yeshivah.
Do not waste any time!"

Eliezer was frightened. He had not told Rabbi
Yehudah about his father's warning. How did he
know? The spirit of prophecy must surely rest on this
holy man. This made Eliezer more eager than ever to
receive personal instruction from his new master.
People said of Rabbi Yehudah that the Prophet
Elijah visited him regularly and revealed many
secrets of the Torah to him. How he wanted to be
considered worthy of Rabbi Yehudah's personal
attention! But days and weeks went by, and the
saintly master did not invite Eliezer to his study.
Young Eliezer applied himself with devotion and
diligence to his Torah studies at the yeshivah, but
his hope of ever becoming Rabbi Yehudah's personal
disciple faded.

The month of Nissan came, and Pesach was but
two weeks away. Eliezer began to think about his
wife and child, and how they would miss him during
the festival, especially on the two nights of the Seder.
How he wished he could be back home again!

Erev Pesach came, and on the morning of that
day he suddenly received word to appear before the
Master. With his heart throbbing, Eliezer entered the
study of Rabbi Yehudah heChassid, which his disci-
ples used to call 'The Holy of Holies."

"You are sorry because you are not with your
family today," Rabbi Yehudah said to him. "Cheer
up. You will be sharing the Seder-table with your
wife and child. But, come, we must first go to the
matzah bakery to bake our Shemura matzah."
Eliezer was speechless. Mainz was a long way off,
and this was the day before Pesach. How could he get
there for the Seder! Furthermore, they were going to
spend a good part of the day in the Matzah bakery!
Surely, the saintly master was not given to making

Eliezer did not say a thing. He was happy that he
had been invited to join his saintly Master at the
Matzah bakery. It was worth coming to Regensburg
just for that: to watch the Master supervise the bak-
ing of the matzohs and take part in it together with

The moment they arrived in the Matzah bakery
and got busy with the matzohs, all thoughts of doubt
or sadness vanished from Eliezer's mind. His heart
was filled with the great joy of the mitzvah of mak-
ing matzohs for the holy festival of Pesach. The
excitement, joy and inspiration would never be for-
gotten by him.

When the last matzohs were taken out of the
oven, Rabbi Yehudah took six matzohs and wrapped
them in a white cloth.

"Take these warm matzohs with you, three for
each Seder, which you will celebrate at home, G-d
willing. And here are six more matzohs which you
will please deliver to the Rabbi of Mainz, together
with this letter. Now let us go. I'll take you to the
outskirts of the town!"

Before taking leave of his disciple, Rabbi
Yehudah said to Eliezer: "I know that you are very
disappointed that you did not learn anything of the
secret knowledge from me as you had hoped. But this
was your penalty for disobeying your father. How-
ever, your devotion and diligence in your Torah stu-
dies and your general conduct as befits the best of my
disciples, have gone a long way towards making up
for your failing. It is time to reward you."

Saying this, Rabbi Yehudah heChassid wrote a
word with his staff in the sand. "Read it!" he said to
his disciple.

Eliezer read it, and at once felt his mind flooded
with a bright light of Divine wisdom. The next
moment, Rabbi Yehudah struck out the word, and
Eliezer felt the bright light disappear, leaving a terri-
ble void. His head was filled with a sharp pain that
brought tears to his eyes. Again the saintly master
wrote the word, and after Eliezer read it, struck it out.
Eliezer pleaded with his master to open his heart and
mind once and for all. Then Rabbi Yehudah wrote it
for the third time. Eliezer threw himself on the
ground and began to lap up the word, sand and all.
Rabbi Yehudah smiled. "If you will always have this

hunger and thirst for Torah, you will find the gates of
G-d's knowledge and wisdom open to you!"

Happy and elated, Eliezer started on his journey.
He felt as if he were dreaming. He was all in a trance.
When he opened his eyes, he found himself at the
gates of his native city of Mainz. A few moments
later, he was home, happy to find his wife and child
well, and terribly excited at the pleasant surprise.

The sun only began to turn westward, as Eliezer
hurried to the Rabbi of Mainz. The Rabbi opened the
letter and a look of wonder came over his face. "This
letter bears last night's date..." he said in amaze-
ment. "When did you leave Regensburg?"

"I can only say that earlier today the saintly
Rabbi Yehudah took me along for the matzah bak-
ing. Here, he sent you some shemurah matzah, too."

The Rabbi's wonder grew as he felt the warmth
of the matzohs, almost as if they had just been taken
out of the oven.

That night, as Eliezer sat at the Seder and ate
the first kazayis piece of matzah, which he had
baked together with his saintly Master, he felt an
inspiration which he had never known before, a
sense of spiritual accomplishment of a mission suc-
cessfully fulfilled.




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