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Haggadah-They Portrayed Us As Evil

The 5th of Nisan is the Yahrtzeit of Rav Avraham Yehoshua Heshel of Apt, the Ohev Yisrael. A merchant came to the Apter Rabbi and ask his blessing for his trip to a foreign city. The rabbis said, “Follow this advice, if a healthy pedestrian should stop your coach and ask you for a ride, you may give it to him; but if a lame person should do so, do not halt, but drive one as quickly as possible.”


The merchant did not understand the reason for this bizarre advice, but resolved to obey it, because of his thorough confidence in the Rabbi’s wisdom.

When he was on a lonely road, a cripple limped towards him and shouted a request to be given a ride. The merchant instructed the driver to hasten the pace of the horses. Then he looked back and saw the supposed cripple drop his crutches and point a rifle at him. Fortunately the carriage was too far ahead already, and the bullet missed him.

On his return home, the Rabbi explained to him the reason for his advice: a healthy man may be expected to be a poor but honest wanderer, whereas a cripple has no business to walk out of the town, relying upon rides he may solicit. In all probability, he may be a disguised crook, as the merchant’s experience had proved. (Niflaot haTzaddikim, page 24)

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