Four Hassidic Tales retold by Martin Buber
Large loaf

Guest loaves (Uri of Strelisk, from the school of Rabbi Shlomo of Karlin)
During a period when the cost of living was very high, Rabbi Mendel noticed that the many needy people whom he entertained as guests in his house received smaller loaves than usual. He gave orders to make the loaves larger than before, since loaves were intended to adjust to hunger and not to the price.

The taste of bread (Simha Bunam of Pzhysha)
Rabbi Bunam once said at the third Sabbath meal:
"It is written: 'Taste and see that the Lord is good.' What you taste in bread is not its true taste. Only the zaddikim [righteous] who have purified all their limbs taste the true taste of the bread, as God created it. They taste and see that the Lord is good."

Two joined loaves
The twin loaves (Naftali of Roptchitz, from the school of the Rabbi of Lublin)
Two youths who were deeply devoted to one another used to go to Rabbi Naftali together to sit at his table. When he distributed the bread, for such was his custom, he always gave the two friends twin loaves clinging each to each.

Once they were vexed with each other. They did not know how this feeling had entered their hearts and could not overcome it. Soon after when they again went to Roptchitz and were seated at the rabbi's table on the eve of the Sabbath, he took the twin loaves, cut them apart, and gave one to each of the youths.

On their way home from the meal they were overcome with emotion and both cried out in the same breath: "We are at fault, we are at fault!" They went to an inn, ordered schnapps and drank a toast to each other.

The next day at the midday meal of the Sabbath, Rabbi Naftali again put twin loaves into the hands of the friends.

Belief and trust (Rabbi Yehoshua Heshel of Apt
from the school of Rabbi Elimelekh of Lizhensk

Rabbi Mendel of Rymanov was asked how to interpret the words God added when He told Moses that the people were to gather a day's portion of manna every day: "...that I may prove them whether they will walk in my law or not."

bread from heavenHe explained: "If you ask even a very simple man whether he believes that God is the only God in the world, he will give the emphatic answer: 'How can you ask! Do not all creatures know that He is the only one in the world!' But should you ask him if he trusts that the Creator will see to is that he has all that he needs, he will be taken aback and after a while he will say: 'Well, I guess I haven't reached that rung yet.'

"But in reality belief and trust are linked, and one cannot exist without the other. He who firmly believes, trusts completely. But if anyone — God forbid — has not perfect confidence in God, his belief will be faint as well. That is why God says: 'I will cause bread to rain from heaven for you': that means 'I can cause bread to rain bread from heaven for you.' But he who goes in the path of my teachings, and that means he who has belief in me, and that means, he who has trust in me, gathers a day's portion every day and does not worry about the morrow."



Barnes and Noble linkFrom Tales of the Hasidim, ed. Martin Buber, transl. Olga Marx. Schocken 1947, 1975.

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