Nisan-Fighting the Fire of Anger XII-The Stanislaver
The Stanislaver Rabbi was accustomed to the awakened every morning by the Shamash, to be punctual at prayers. One morning the Shamash failed to call the Rabbi and he came late to synagogue. The Rabbi, who was quick-tempered, struck the Shamash twice on the cheek.
He immediately regretted his hasty act, and resolved to make atonement by leaving the town and wandering about as a beggar for a year. When the year had ended, he returned to Stanislav, but his ragged garments and uncut hair and beard made him unrecognizable.
He came to the synagogue and stood near the door among other poor tramps. At the conclusion of the services, he was invited to the home of a wealthy man for the Shabbat meal. His behavior pleased his host, and he was invited to remain for the night. The disguised beggar awoke early, and began quietly to recite Psalms.
Soon after, the Shamash came to awaken the wealthy man, and finding him is still asleep, stole the silver candlesticks from the dining room table. Hiding them beneath his coat, the Shamash knocked at the man’s bedroom door.
When the man emerged, he immediately noticed that the candlesticks were missing, and asked the Shamash if he had seen any stranger about. The Shamash expressed the opinion that his poor guests had stolen the candlesticks.
The poor man, the Rabbi, thereupon asked the Shamash, “Will you take an oath that I stole them?”
The question so enraged the Shamash that he slapped the Rabbi’s face twice.
When he was about to do so a third time, the rabbi exclaimed, “You only only two slaps, and I wish no interest. Return the candlesticks to their place, and announced to the congregation that their Rabbi has returned (Tiferet Menachem, page 24).