The mashpia and the bath tender

Shortly before his demise, R’ Shmuel Ber of Bobroisk shared a story with his disciples. He was always awkward about sharing it, he explained, but he did not want to take it to the grave. One time, a difficult question in a specific Maamar bothered him. In yechidus, he asked the Rebbe Rashab about him and the Rebbe advised him to ask the bath tender in his own shtetl. Surprised, R’ Shmuel dutifully did what he was tod. Twitching his eyebrows, the bath tender thought several moments and then blew R’ Shmuel away with the answer he came up with.

R’ Shmuel was incredulous. True, this Chasidishe bath tender studied some Chasidus and, in general, was a שטיקל יודע ספר but he certainly was no match for this leading mashpia. You need to understand exactly R’ Shmuel’s standing. When the Rebbe Rashab said the deep hemshech ayin bais, the misnagdim could not believe that the fifty year old Rebbe came up with it himself. They were certain that the senior mashpia with his advanced knowledge in Chasidus, assisted the Rebbe with its contents.

So R’ Shmuel asked the simple bath tender how he came up with the answer. The bath tender explained that apparently R’ Shmuel must have been so deeply exasperated by this question that he turned to a simple bath tender for an answer. Seeing how much it bothered R’ Shmuel, he made his best effort to attempt to resolve it.


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