Thursday, January 7, 2010

Story of Rebbitzin Kaminker

The wife of Reb Heschele Kaminker was a very holy woman, with a special zchus
(merit). In those days many women died in childbirth because the doctors in the little villages didn't know what to do. Everyone in the vicinity knew that if the wife of Reb Heschele Kaminker walked in where a woman was having childbirth pains, the woman would be okay, and the child would he born easily. Later they moved to Israel, and they we're so poor he could barely make a few pennies for Shabbos challah, but they managed. The Rebbetzin really wanted to hide her holiness, but she would secretly find out if there was a woman in childbirth pain, and she would just drop in to visit. Slowly, slowly people began to notice that as soon as she dropped in, the pain would end and the baby would be born with noproblem, People wanted to pay her, but she would protest, and try to cover up the whole thing.

In those days Israel was under the Turkish government, so there was a Pasha, a governor. At one time the Pasha's daughter was having trouble having a baby and she was about to die. He called all the doctors. He also had Jewish friends who said, "Listen, don't waste your money on doctors who can't help. There is one woman here in Jerusalem, and if you can get her to come to your place you won't need doctors." So the Pasha come personally, because he didn't want his daughter to die. He knocked on the door of the broken down house of Reb Heschele and asked the Rebbitzin to please come save his daughter's life. It goes without saying, as she walked into the palace the baby was born. The Pasha wanted to pay her. Even though she was really poor she didn't want to take money for that. The Pasha spoke to all his Jewish friends. "Do me a favor. Talk to this woman. I want to give her a gift to show her my thanks."

Maarat HaMachpelah, the cove where Adam and Eve, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob are buried was taken over by the Moslems who had a decree that any Jew who went there could be killed because it would be a desecration of the holiness of the place if a Jew showed his face there. So the wife of Reb Heschele said to the Pasha, "Okay. If you want to give me a gift, I want you to let me go into Ma'arat haMachpelah to pray at the graves of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob." "When do you want to go?" "In three months" she said. Can you imagine? For hundreds of years not one Jew was there to pray, so she wanted to go in the name of all of Israel. She thought, "Maybe I am going to bring Messiah. I have to turn over the whole world ." So she worked to prepare herself. She was very holy anyway, but she really prepared herself to the utmost.

I want you to know this is a true story. I heard it in Bobov, and it is a classic story which is in all the Chassidic books.

In the meantime all the doctors felt bad because with all their importance they could not get the baby out, and this simple woman just walks through the door and the baby is born. They were very jealous. They heard that the Pasha had given her permission to go to Maarat haMachpelah. Now it is all cleaned up and it looks good, but in those days there were just steps going down, down, down into the cave. The doctors went to the Muslim who was in charge of the Ma'rat haMachpelah and said to him, "You know the Pasha only told her she could go into the cave. He never said anything about coming out." They gave him a lot of money, and made arrangements.

The Rebbitzin came with a letter from the Pasha giving her permission to go into the cave. She went in and began to pray. After a few hours she wants to get out, so she knocks on the door, but everything is closed and dark.

She begins crying and begging, "Please let me out, I'm dying here." She understood that they had closed her in on purpose, so what can she do? She went back down the steps and started praying again, saying the psalms. Reb Heschele Kaminker was a direct descendant of King David; he knew all the names of all the people from King David to himself. So his wife was stuck there in the dark, crying, so much, just about to faint. Suddenly she saw a great light. Someone was coming with a crown on his head and he said, I want you to know, I am your childrens' great grandfather, King David. Come with me and I'll get you out." She wasn't stupid, so she said to him, "I want you to give me something to remember you." She thought, "I'll come out and I'll say King David took me out. Who will believe me?" So King David gave her a little book of Psalms, then he opened the door and let her out. The strangest thing is that when he let her out the door wasn't in Hebron where the Ma'arat haMachpelah is. He opened the door and she was standing right in front of her own home in Jerusalem, and she had the book of Psalms in her hand. This little Tehilim, this Psalm book was handed down from generation to generation. I heard in Bobov that someone once came to visit the Sanzer Rebbe and he had the Psalm book with him because he was one of the great grandchildren of Reb Heschele Kaminker and his wife.

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