The Rov of Shklov

A Yungerman applied for the Rabbonus in a small European shtetl. A large and influential contingent of its Jewish population were Lubavitcher Chasidim and so any potential candidate required the approval of the Rebbe Maharash.

When the aspiring Rov met the Rebbe, the Rebbe made his approval conditional that he receive Smichoh from the Shklover Rov. The yungerman raised an eyebrow for the Rov of Shklov was known to be a fierce opponent of the Rebbe, but he heeded what he was told.

The Rov of Shklov was no less stunned to hear what brought the yungerman to him. He quizzed him and was satisfied with the young man’s replies but was still perturbed by the Rebbe’s strange stipulation. He instructed the yungerman to return in the evening for his smicho.

In the evening, the Rov continued the interview in an attempt to uncover the Rebbe’s possible reason. He finally advised the Yungerman that he’ll need to sleep over it and he’ll give the young man his reply the next morning.

The Rov spent the entire night attempting to get to the bottom of the matter. He started to wonder whether he possibly met the applicant before. Then, he remembered something. Years ago, he traveled on a wagon with another passenger. During the trip, the wagon was stopped by a Russian soldier who requested access to the wagon. The driver let him aboard.

The soldier, turning out to be a cross-dressed woman, began conversing with the other passenger. The Rov from Shklov was dismayed to hear the dialogue get progressively vulgar. Now, he recognized the young man who came to him for Smicho as that passenger.

The next morning, the Rov asked the yungerman whether he ever traveled with a Russian soldier and a third passenger and told the yungerman, “You’re not getting any Smicho from me…”

(Heard at a Montreal farbrengen.)

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