Khaye Roll, Translated by Jessica CohenDuring the tombstone unveiling for Yisrael Moshe Stern (founder of the hospital), the entire Stern family (“Rodzina”) was invited by the hospital committee. After the ceremony, the guests toured the hospital. When Yisrael Shlomo Stern, who was a very shrewd Jewish man, saw the impeccable order in the institution, he turned to the people accompanying him and said: “ihr hat gamacht a-tel fonem hekdesh” (The hospital was once a poorhouse).
Once, before Passover, the management wanted to make new pairs of trousers
for the men in the old age home, for the holiday. They purchased some fabric and
a few tailors were asked to sew the trousers for free. There was one elderly man
in the home by the name of Sozie Alexander, a Hassid from Czortakow, who
was an expert on everything and was particularly talented at sewing. They gave
him the fabric and said: “Reb Suzie, take this fabric and sew yourself a pair of
trousers.” Reb Zuzie's reply was to ask: “And who will pay me for this?”
Once a traveling salesman came to Buczacz, and stayed there for a while. When
he returned home, they asked him: what kind of a town is Buczacz? He replied:
[Yiddish] (Buczacz is a strange town; in the middle of the town, stands the
council house. Above the council house, stands the great synagogue. Above the
synagogue, stands the bathing house. Above the bathing house, is the hospital.
Above the hospital there is a church, and above it, seven mills spin round).
Baruch “Luli” once lay in a hospital in Vienna, and next to him lay a local
Jew. The latter wanted to make fun of the bearded Galician Jew, and asked:
“[Yiddish]” (How do you say louse in Yiddish?) – Lice, Baruch replied. – Yes,
that is in the plural, but how do you say it in the singular? – We don't have
them in the singular – Baruch “Lulu” replied.
The town mayor, Barris Stern, liked to play cards, and Tzadok Avraham Yankels was his regular “kibitzer”. One Thursday, he was engrossed in a game, and only as evening fell did he remember that he had not left his wife any money to buy things for Shabbat. He turned to Tzadok and said:
– Tzudik, take these 10 crowns and take them home to the wife, for the Shabbat groceries.
Tzudik took the ten crowns and took them home to his own wife. Later than night, B. Stern returned home and was “warmly” welcomed by his wife for not having left her the money for Shabbat.
The next day when he met Tzudik, the mayor asked: - why did you not give the money to my wife, like I asked you? – But you told me to give the money to the wife, and so I gave it to my wife. If you had asked me to give the money to the lady, I would have given it to your wife. I have a wife, and you – a lady.
The same Tzadok Avraham Yankels once said: — when I lie on my deathbed and you see me moving my lips, you will know that I am insulting my lord.
Moidel “goy” (a Jew) went to Rabbi Yudlei Shapira before Passover and said to him: Reb Yudlei, please buy some potatoes for Passover from me. Reb Yudlei became angry and answered: Potatoes, potatoes – even potatoes have their limit!
- My potatoes have a “limit” too, Moidel replied, believing that “limit” was something that potatoes must have in order to be kosher for Passover.
On the morning of Tisha Be'Av, Moidel “Goy” went to pray, carrying the tefilin bag. He came across Antashki Kastalawski (a Christian, who was knowledgeable in the customs of Judaism), who told him: Moidel, you goy – don't you know that on the morning of Tisha Be'Av, you don't go to pray with the tefilin bag in your hand?
When they asked David Wolf Shapira why he does not lay tefilin, his answer was: I don't want to put my head into a dispute between Rashi and Rabeinu Tam…
One morning, when Hersch Leibeleh Hassid stood in his home for the
shmoneh-esreh prayer, he noticed a dog that had come into the house. He
could not banish the dog, and he did not want to stop his prayer to utter the
profane. He called to his wife and said to her in lashon hakodesh: “My
wife, my wife – a pas (dog) is in the house!”
When Kappaleh “thief” came home from the army after the First World War, he
found a baby in his home. Having no choice, he took on the responsibility. After
a while, the baby became ill and died and Kappaleh sat shiva. When his
friends came to console him, he told them: Hear this, friends – I have “sat”
many times in my life, but never yet have I sat when I am so free of blame.