Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Reb Shaya'le's Awesome Power

Recently someone asked me how to get rid of ants.  I remembered a story I heard about a famous rabbi whose picture, when hung in the room, would rid the house of pests, notably mice but also other kinds of vermin.  Although I have not had a chance to test this myself, I am assured that it does work. [If you're going to try this, print out the photo below and perhaps laminate it, and put it in the room where the pests are bothering you] 

Reb Shaya'la of Kerestirer [1851- 1925] was a famous chasiddic Rebbe from Hungary in the early Twentieth century. [His yarzheit is on 3 Iyar] Many make the trip to his Kever and spend Shabbos at his house in northern Hungary. His picture is believed by many to be a segulah and a amulet of protection. Many stores have his picture to keep away mice. 

The Famous Mouse Story

Affectionately known as Reb Shaya'le [Rabbi Yeshaya Steiner of Kerestir], the Kerestirer Rebbe lived around the beginning of the 20th Century. He was a very pious man and extremely humble, always referring to himself in the diminutive [Shaya'le]. He was known as a "miraculous" person. His greatest pleasure was to host a very elaborate Melave Malka, the meal that follows Shabbos, on Saturday night. Often he would have his chassidim shecht fresh chickens for his meal.
Reb Yeshaya'le Kerestirer

One motzei Shabbos, while Reb Shaya'le was eating this special melave malka meal, a chossid came to him with an urgent request. He was a man who had a warehouse full of foodstuffs and he made his living by buying and selling food. For the past number of months, his warehouse had been taken over by mice who were eating his grain and other commodities and his entire livelihood was threatened. He asked Reb Shaya'le for a blessing that the mice should leave his warehouse. 

At that time, each small town in Europe was ruled by the local church pastor. Some of the pastors were kind towards the Jews and others were very harsh. Reb Shaya'le asked the chossid if the pastor of the town he lived in was kind or harsh. The chossid replied that he was very harsh toward the Jews. Reb Shaya'le then instructed the chossid to go to his warehouse and to tell the mice, "Reb Shaya'le says to go to the estate of the pastor." The chossid followed the Rebbe's advice and instantly hundreds of mice raced out of the warehouse all heading in the direction of the pastor's estate. 

The chossid's business was saved and ever since Jews who have been plagued with this problem have used Reb Shaya'le's picture to accomplish the ridding of mice from their homes.

Source: Jewish Gen


Anonymous said...

I think this would fall under the category of Avodah Zara.

Devorah said...

It's not avoda zara. No-one is worshipping him, a tzadik's power does not diminish even after passing away.

Anonymous said...

To put up a picture of anything/anyone and attribute power to that picture to do any thing like driving away mice is avodah zara. That's what many idolatrous nations do today using amulets and such.

Devorah said...

Would you say the same thing about segulot such as Sefer Raziel which is said to protect against fires ? Maybe it's something that is done by some, but not others, there's always disagreements, but I don't see it as avodah zara. Perhaps you would say that all Segulot come under the possible heading of ''avoda zara''. But in no way can you compare a photo of a tzadik to idolatrous nations' amulets, as they come from totally different sides of the coin.

Anonymous said...

The problem is with putting up a picture and attributing power to that picture. The Hindus put up pictures of their deities and believe there is power from those that cannot speak, move, see, etc. The Japanese have similar practice with their deities.

Devorah said...

I can onlly tell you that I got this information from a highly respected Rabbinic family, and if it was avoda zara in any way, they wouldn't be doing it [and I woudln't be blogging it]. But anyway I will try and find out a better response to your comments.

Anonymous said...

Nobody is worshiping the Rav of one is saying he is a deity. A tzaddik has a closer, clearer connection with Hashem and he can get Hashem to do things for an individual that the person might not get based on his own merit...a tzaddik intervenes on a person's behalf with Hashem. The miracle always always comes from Hashem, but sometimes when we have sinned to much and we dont have enough merit Hashem will perform the miracle for us based on the tzaddik's merit. How could it possibly be avodah zara? The Chumash Sefer Bamidbar talks about the Chait Ha' Meraglim and it directly tells us Moshe Rabbenu intervened when Hashem wanted to wipe out Klal Yisroel. The chumash is specific that Am Yisroel was saved in the merit of Moshe and his arguement for them. This is not to say we cant sometimes receive miracles through our own prayers and based on our own merit...but le'havdil, its like cellphone coverage - the tzaddik has better coverage so he gets clearer reception and his calls always get through. Our calls have more fuzzy coverage and sometimes they get dropped bc "things" get in the way to stop them and block them.
I personally knew R' Shaya'le's granddaughter, our family had the zechut to be close to them....and I can tell you she was a tzaddekes like her Zaide. People came from all over to meet her and speak with her. She was mamesh like a queen. She survived the camps with all of her children and as if that wasnt miraculous enough she saved other children as well.
We keep pictures of Tzaddikim in our homes to remind us of what we should aspire to and also because they are holy and Hashem sends protection in their merit. It has NOTHING to do with Avodah Zarah.

Devorah said...

Thank you for that! Very well explained.

And by the way, the previous complainer also mentioned the use of amulets: well these are also Jewish in origin, and their Hebrew name is a Kemaya. Our amulets cannot be compared to those of the idolators, so please don't confuse the two.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Annonymous @ 5.38 p.m.

I feel too, that the Holy Rebbes, would ask on our behalf, and because of their holy lives, Hashem would, answer us favourably, and thus it is like a 'gift' Hashem gives us, by hearing the Holy ones.
Have not explained too well...

Thank you Devorah, it makes sense what you say.


Anonymous said...

Evidently there is not other power beside G-od, but He made the Tzimtzum to give place to creation, so everything created has an impact in the lower and the upper worlds. Since you don't concede any power beside G-od to that image it's not idolatry.

yaak said...

This is not avoda zara. I was suggested this segula by my well-respected rabbi many years ago when we had a mouse issue and we still have the picture hanging on our fridge.

By the way, I found another amazing miracle story of his here near the bottom.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of Moshe Rabbeinu, that's why Hashem hid his burial place so that no one can flock to his kever and ask Moshe Rabbeinu to do anything for them. Today people flock to Kever Rachel and ask her to intercede on their behalf. This is something that we are not permitted to do. Even though others do it, doesn't mean that it's correct. I'm surprised that YAAK is also warding off mice with a picture. Some people put picture of another deceased Rabbi in their baby's crib to "calm" the baby.

Devorah said...

I don't know if you're the same Anonymous who has been writing all these comments, but if so you are one very confused person.

We ARE permitted to pray at the graves of tzadikim. As Anonymous explained above '' A tzaddik has a closer, clearer connection with Hashem and he can get Hashem to do things for an individual that the person might not get based on his own merit...a tzaddik intervenes on a person's behalf with Hashem''

There is a Special Prayer that is attached to a newborn baby's crib. If some people put a picture of their Rebbe along with the prayer, that is also NOT avoda zara, I can promise you that. It may appear strange to you, but you are obviously not a Chassidic Jew and you have different customs, but don't accuse us all of avoda zara when really it is your lack of knowledge on these subjects.

yaak said...

Anonymous 5:49,

There is much confusion regarding praying at the graves of the righteous. I've seen this confusion countless times over the years. Let halachayomit clear it up for you:

Nevertheless, Maran Rabbeinu Ovadia Yosef zt”l writes in the name of the Poskim that one who visits a cemetery should not pray to the deceased themselves as if they have the power to save or help him as several other nations do; rather, one should request Heavenly mercy from Hashem in the merit of the deceased righteous individual.

However, this does not mean that one may not ask anything of the deceased; rather, this just means that one may not request salvation from the deceased. For instance, if one is next to the grave of a righteous man, one may not exclaim, “May it be your will, Rabbi so-and-so, that you save me and help me etc.” Rather, one may request from the soul of the righteous person to speak favorably on one’s behalf before Hashem so that Hashem help him regarding whatever the issue is.

Indeed, Maran zt”l rules likewise in his Chazon Ovadia-Avelut (Volume 3, page 210) that it is permissible to request from the soul of a righteous man to speak favorably on our behalf so that Hashem grant one many years many years to serve Him. He writes that the great luminary, the saintly Ari z”l, that when one visits the graves of the righteous, especially those who know how to concentrate on certain things known only to those who are well-versed in Kabbalah, the soul of the deceased shall greatly help that individual.

See more there.

The same is true regarding pictures as segulot.

Devorah said...

That's very helpful, thanks Yaak.

Anonymous said...

BTW this segula is as old as I can remember. And it's just that, a 'segula'. ALL segulas actually 'sound' like avoda zora. That's if 'our' opinions count at all. As you've stated above, we need to believe that our tzaddikim 'knew' things although we 'thought' otherwise. I've never tried this, but I actually will try it now for my mice that I cannot seem to get rid of:)
This is nothing new in most ultra frum communities and nobody has ever used the term avoda zora. But I will admit that most will snicker or laugh at it and never try it....


Neshama said...

In Israel we have cats that prowl the neighborhoods and catch those little furry critters, along with any much larger cousins that might dare to come around. We once had a mouse living in our bklyn apt (due to nearby construction) and the poor thing was starving. I made sure of that. Then I laid a trap with pnutbutter and, as they say, Gotcha! I called the owner and he came to dispose of it. I couldn't watch it suffer struggling on the glue! The owner lived downstairs.