Sunday, April 29, 2012

The Reward of being Hospitable - Parents of R'Zusha Anipoli & R' Elimelach of Lyzansk

Eleizer Lippman and his wife, Mirush, were unusually hospitable people. Weary travelers and/or hungry beggars were never turned away. Their boundless hospitality did not go unnoticed in the Heavens. And a discussion up on High ensued as to how best to reward the couple. But then the Adversary stepped up and commented: "What they are doing is not really so difficult. So, some of them are poor and dressed in rags. A bit disheveled or even smelly. What of it? Would they treat a repulsive beggar with as much kindness and care as anyone else?" questioned the Adversary with a cynical smile.
And so it was decided that Eliezer and Mirush would be tested.
Days later, a leper knocked on the door of Eliezer and Mirush. Mirush smiled at the leper and invited him in.  "It is not necessary for me to come inside. I know what I look like" said the leper as he pointed to his many open, oozing sores and his matted hair.
"I have not bathed for months." he said quietly, ashamed of the horrific odor he emitted.
"Please do come inside," Mirush offered and she led him in and prepared warm, nourishing food. She insisted the leper stay in their home until he was healed.
Twice a day, Mirush applied special creams to the leper's sores. As his skin improved, Mirush carefully peeled off the ragged clothing which had been sticking to his body. Then Mirush arranged for the leper to bathe and she gave him a new set of clothing.
After a few weeks when the leper fully recovered they gave him some money, and Reb Eliezer accompanied him part of the way. The guest then said to Reb Eliezer, "In the merit of the kindness and hospitality you show toward every person, including a leprous beggar like myself, you and your wife will raise children who will be righteous tzadikim." 
From that time forth, their children began to excel in Torah learning, performance of mitzvot and in the refinement of their personality. Two of their sons, are the famous great R. Zusya of Anapoli and R. Elimelech of Lyzhansk.

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