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Section: Stories   Category: Story Corner
The Request Of The Chazon Ish Solves An Old Riddle
Many years ago, a Jew moved to Bnei Brak and rented a space to open a small grocery store.  The first thing he did was hire a carpenter to construct shelves.  In order to construct shelves in those days, they would set up two tall round hollow pillars, and then  set up the huge wooden shelves.  These shelves would house the huge sacks of flour and sugar, the large jugs of oil, and other preserved foods which would be in storage for an extended period of time.
    
While the carpenter was still setting up the hollow pillars, the delivery men arrived with the jugs of oil.  They waited while the carpenter set up the top shelf, and then they climbed up the ladder to store the eight jugs of vegetable oil and four jugs of olive oil.  Afterwards, the carpenter finished constructing the shelves, and the rest of the groceries were delivered.
    
Time passed, and the grocery store had been open for many years.  One winter, there was a shortage of many basic items, and the store’s shelves were half empty.  One day, a young avreich walked in and asked urgently for olive oil.  There had been at least fifty similar requests in the past week.  It was Chanukah and everybody in Bnei Brak needed olive oil, but there was none left in the store.
    
The avreich’s request took on a pleading tone.  “I didn’t come for myself.  Rabbeinu, the Chazon Ish, sent me here to buy olive oil for hadlakas neiros.  I asked Rabbeinu where to go since there’s a shortage, and he specifically instructed me to come to this store.”
    
The storekeeper was disappointed.  He would have loved to have the zechus to fulfill the request of the Chazon Ish.  However, he didn’t have a bit of olive oil left in the store.  
    
The avreich was determined. “Maybe you have a tiny bit?  Maybe in the storage room?  Maybe you have some left over from past years?”
    
“There is definitely none left,” said the storekeeper regretfully.  “There’s the top shelf where I store the oil –it’s completely empty.  Climb up and see for yourself.”
    
The avreich climbed up the ladder, glanced at the empty shelf, and moved his hand over it and over the hollow pillar.  Suddenly, the storekeeper, who had been watching him, called out, “The fourth jug of oil!”    
    
The storekeeper had suddenly remembered a long forgotten memory.  The year after he had first opened the store, he had finished selling the contents of the third jug of olive oil he had originally received when he opened the store.  He climbed up the ladder to retrieve the fourth jug of olive oil, and was dismayed to find that it was simply not there.

    
He distinctly remembered four jugs being delivered, and he had watched closely as the men placed them on the shelf.   But his clear memory didn’t help him to find the missing jug, and he eventually forgot about it.  Much later, he realized that the jugs had been delivered while the carpenter was still constructing the shelves, and the heavy sack of flour had been placed on the shelf right after the jugs.  It was possible that one jug had fallen into the hollow supporting pillar which had not yet been sealed by the carpenter.  It would have made a loud crashing sound, but the store had been bustling with activity, and the noise would have been drowned out.  However, the storekeeper did not investigate to see if his hypothesis was true because it would have meant completely dismantling the shelves.  When he now saw the avreich place his hand on the pillar, he suddenly remembered the mystery of the disappearing fourth jug.  
    
He told the avreich the story, and expressed his reluctance to dismantle the shelves since he was uncertain that the jug was actually there. On the other hand,  the storekeeper mused that maybe the Chazon Ish had specifically sent the avreich  to his store because he had ruach hakodesh that olive oil could be found here.  He decided to try, and he and the avreich dismantled the shelves.  To their great happiness, they found the jug of oil, which had been lying there for many years and was now available to fulfill the wish of the Chazon Ish.  (Told over by the storekeeper’s wife Viniflosav Livnei Adam)
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