Section: Stories   Category: Story Corner
No Messing With The Sage Of Medzeboz
A man named Leibel Schwartz* who resided in Monsey, New York once traveled to Eastern Europe with a group of Jews to visit the kevarim of Gedolim of the past.  Leibel is a tenth generation descendant of the Baal Shem Tov, and he was especially eager to visit the kever of his illustrious ancestor.  Leibel also wanted to visit a few other places that were not included in his group's itinerary, so he hired a private driver who would drive him across the Polish-Ukrainian border. 

It was early in the morning, and Leibel had dozed off, only to be awakened when a police car beckoned for the car to park by the side of the street.  The policeman looked through the window and accused Leibel of not wearing his seat belt.  He then ordered him to get out of the car, and accompany him into a nearby building.  The policeman sat down and began interrogating Leibel about his origins, his family, his business, and the reason he was visiting the country.  Suddenly, the policeman pulled out his gun and aimed it at Leibel's head.  Leibel began shaking, but composed himself, and offered money to the man, who obviously was a criminal posing as a policeman.  Leibel gave him several thousand dollars from his wallet and begged the man not to kill him. However, the man continued to point the gun at Leibel's head, telling him that he is scared to let him go, since he will go straight to the police to report him.  Leibel cried that the man had nothing to worry about, and he had no intention of reporting him, but the man continued to point the gun at him. 

Suddenly, the man stood up and left the room.  Leibel quickly recited viduy, sure that his life would soon end.  The man returned to the room, and snarled, "Where are you going from here?"  Leibel replied, "To Medzeboz."  The thief responded sharply, "But you told me you were going to Vizhnitz!" 

"I was, but now I won't have time to make it to Vizhnitz.  I'll have to go directly to Medzeboz to visit the kever of my grandfather, the Baal Shem Tov."  As Leibel spoke, he wondered why he was mentioning these details to this criminal.

The man grumbled, "How can he be your grandfather?  He died hundreds of years ago!" 

Leibel was shocked.  How in the world did this criminal know anything about the Baal Shem Tov?  "He's my great-great-great-great grandfather.  I'm a tenth-generation descendant." 

The man looked down and lowered his gun.  He handed Leibel's money to him and said, "We have a family tradition never to disturb a descendant of the Sage of Medzeboz. Take your money and go."

Leibel ran for his life.  The merit of the Baal Shem Tov, which had saved him from a cruel death, was still active ten generations later!

*This is a true story, but the name has been changed.   (Visions of Greatness, R' Yosef Weiss)

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