Kerestir (Hasidic dynasty)

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Kerestir is a Hasidic dynasty founded by Rebbe Yeshaya Steiner. Kerestir is the Yiddish name of Bodrogkeresztúr, a town in Hungary. Reb Yeshaya had two residences: one that he used for the general public on 65 Kossuth Utca, and one that he used when seeking seclusion from the masses, or when there was an overabundance of guests and needed more space for guests, located on 3 Sipos Koz.

Lineage

  • Rebbe Yeshaya Steiner (1852–1925)
    • Rebbe Avrohom Steiner (1883–1927), son of Rebbe Yeshaya ('Rebbe' 1925-1927)
    • Rabbi Shmuel Gross, son-in-law of Rebbe Yeshaya
    • Rabbi Reuven Chaim Klein, son-in-law of Rebbe Yeshaya
    • Rabbi Yisroel Avrohom Alter Landa, son-in-law of Rebbe Yeshaya
      • Rebbe Meir Yosef Rubin of Kerestir, son-in-law of Rebbe Avrohom
      • Rebbe Naftoli Gross of Debrecen (died 1988), (brother of Rabbi Yeshaya's son-in-law Rabbi Shmuel) son-in-law of Rebbe Avrohom
        • Rebbe Rafael Gross (1928–2007) - Kerestir Rebbe of Miami Beach, Florida, son of Rebbe Naftoli
        • Rebbe Yeshaya Gross - present Kerestir-Berbesht Rebbe of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NY, son of Rebbe Naftoli
          • Rabbi Yoishua Moishe Baruch of Woodmere - grandson of Rebbe Naftali
        • Rebbi Alter Krausz - present Kerestir Rebbe in Monsey, NY, USA.

The ridding of the mice

Rabbi Yeshaya Steiner, the Kerestirer Rebbe and founder of the Kerestir dynasty, was a very pious man and extremely humble, always referring to himself in the diminutive, Shaya'le. He was known as a "miraculous" person. His greatest pleasure was to host an elaborate melave malka, the meal that follows Shabbos, on Saturday night. He often had his chassidim shecht (kosher slaughter) fresh chickens for his meal.

One motza'ei shabbos, while Reb Shaya'le was eating the special melave malka meal, a chossid came to him with an urgent request. He was a man who had a warehouse full of foodstuffs and made his living by buying and selling food. For several months, his warehouse had been taken over by mice that were eating his grain and other commodities, and his entire livelihood was threatened. He asked Reb Shaya'le for a blessing that the mice should leave his warehouse.

At that time, many smalls town in Eastern Europe were was ruled by their local church pastors. Some of the pastors were kind towards the Jews and others were harsh.

Reb Shaya'le asked the chossid if the pastor of the town he lived in was kind or harsh. The chossid replied that he was very harsh toward the Jews. Reb Shaya'le then instructed the chossid to go to his warehouse and to tell the mice, "Reb Shaya'le says to go to the estate of the pastor."

The chossid followed the Rebbe's advice and instantly hundreds of mice raced out of the warehouse, heading in the direction of the pastor's estate. The chossid's business was saved, and ever since Jews who have been plagued with this problem have used Reb Shaya'le's picture to rid mice from their homes.

A more authentic version of the story is the one about the mice in Shloime Engel's warehouse. Shloime Engle lived in Tokaj, nearby to Kerestir and owned a wholesale food business. He was suffering from mice eating his warehouse inventory and when he brought his plight to Reb Shaya'le, the Rebbe (or Shloime Engel) quoted the Talmud noting that mice came as a punishment to those who did not tithe properly. Shlomie Engel protested that not only did he tithe each month but he even gave a fifth of his income to charity. He proved this by presenting Reb Shaya'le with his accounting books and when Reb Shaya'le saw that this was the case, he ordered a rabbinic court to be formed to judge the matter. Three rabbi's sat in judgement: Rabbi Reuven Chaim Klien, Rabbi Yisroel Avraham Alter Landau and Rabbi Moshe Ginz, the Rabbi of Kerestir. The court ruled that Shloime Engel was in the right and the mice (in actuality heaven) had no claim against him. The committed their ruling to writing and Reb Shaya'le added his signature to the document. The document was affixed to the wall of Shloime Engel's store and that night the mice formed a procession and left the warehouse. The document was remembered well after WWII by members of the Engel family and by Rabbi Moshe Neuschloss of New Square.[1]

References

  1. ^ Besser, Rabbi Yisroel (2017), Reb Shayele: The Warmth and Wonder of Kerestir. Distributed by Feldheim Publishers. pp. 302-304
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