Folktales of the Jews - Vol. 2

By Dan Ben-Amos | Go to book overview

12
How Rothschild Became Wealthy

TOLD BY HINDA SHEINFERBER TO HADARAH SELA

A certain Hasid of the Rebbe* of Kozientz** used to go to the rebbe's court for every festival. One day he fell ill and died. He left several children. They were very poor, and the neighbors took pity on them. One of them identified a child with talent, but the neighbor couldn't pay his school fees. This man, taking pity on the child, journeyed to the rebbe's court and told him that so-and-so had passed away and left behind a very talented boy. What could be done so he could continue his studies?

"Bring him here," the rebbe said. "Let him live with me."

The neighbor brought the boy to the rebbe. The boy was maybe eight or ten. In the interim, before he started studying with the rebbe, the shammes§ got the boy to help out. One day the shammes told the child, "Go make the rebbe'?, bed."

So he made up the rebbe's bed for the night. The next day, the rebbe asked his shammes, "Who made my bed last night?"

The shammes was very frightened. Who knows how the child had made up the bed? "Don't be frightened," the rebbe said. "Just tell me."

"Anshel," he replied.

"From now on, I always want Anshel§§ to make up my bed for the night."

The rebbe began to take care of the boy and teach him as if he were his own son. The child grew up with the rebbe, making his bed for him and learning many secrets. Because he was very clever, the rebbe asked Anshel what he thought about every important matter.

Whenever people visit a rebbe and give him a heart-rending note, they also make a contribution. If they give the rebbe gold, he puts it aside to use as dowries for poor brides.

*A Hasidic Rabbi.

**Yiddish for the Polish town of Kozienice.

§Synagogue caretaker.

§§Yiddish for the name "Amschel."

-81-

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