The Scattered Coins

The couple didn't believe in the power of tzaddikim and miracle-working rabbis, but what could they do? Their daughter had suddenly became paralyzed…

3 min

Rabbi Tzvi Meir Cohn

Posted on 17.03.21

“He called (Vayikra) to Moses. Vayikra spoke to him from the Tent of the Meeting.” (Vayikra 1:1)

Moses was very humble. Therefore, he did not want to write the word Vayikra in the Torah with an aleph as the last letter. In this form, Vayikra means “calling” with the connotation of high status and love. Instead, Moses wanted to write va-yikar which means calling in the language used for a commoner. Hashem told Moses to write with the aleph because “you have great status before me.” Moses had to write Vayikra with an aleph because G-d commanded him to do so but he wrote it with a small aleph. And so we find in every Torah scroll the aleph of Vayikra is small. MeAm Lo’ez
A poor couple had a daughter who suddenly became paralyzed, G-d forbid. They took her to a few local doctors but none could diagnose what was wrong, much less suggest a cure. Having no choice left, they decided to take her to the Rabbi Israel Baal Shem Tov, the legendary holy man, miracle worker and healer. True, they really didn’t believe in the bubba meissas (old wife tales) about the Rabbi being able to perform miracles, but what else could they do?
Shortly thereafter, the couple learned that the Baal Shem Tov happened to be visiting a nearby town. Placing their paralyzed daughter in the back of their wagon, they traveled to the town. Their hearts were heavy as their hopes had been dashed before, so they didn’t say much to each other.
Upon their arrival at the inn, they learned that the Baal Shem Tov was staying in a room on the second floor. Of course, there was a long line of people winding up the stairs waiting to meet with the Baal Shem Tov to get a blessing.
Finally, it was their turn. They carried their paralyzed daughter into the room. They handed the Baal Shem Tov a kvittel (note) asking for a complete healing for their daughter.
The Baal Shem Tov took the note and said, “Before I give a blessing for your daughter’s healing, I expect to receive one ruble (equal to 100 kopecks).”
The couple looked at each other and reached into their pockets. All they could find was 27 kopecks. “Rabbi, here are 27 kopecks. We are very poor and that is what we have.”
The Baal Shem Tov took the 27 kopecks and put them on the table. Then he said, “I’m sorry, but I really can’t help you unless I receive one ruble.”
So the couple searched through all their pockets and found another 12 kopecks bringing the total to 39. “Rabbi, please take these. But it is all that we have,” said the husband.
The Baal Shem Tov reached out and took the 12 kopecks and put them on the table with the other 27. Then he said, “As I said, I really can’t help you unless I receive one ruble.”
“But Rabbi,” pleaded the wife, “it’s all we have. Please give her a blessing. We’re desperate with worry about our daughter.”
The Baal Shem Tov looked at them and said, “I’m really sorry, but I can’t help you. And as for this 39 kopecks, it’s not enough.” Then he picked up the kopecks from the table and threw them down the stairs.
Suddenly, the daughter jumped up and ran down the stairs collecting the scattered kopecks as she went. The husband and wife looked at each other with amazement. Then, they looked at the Baal Shem Tov and he had a big smile on his face.
The couple quickly turned around and rushed down the stairs yelling to each other, “Let’s get out of here before the Rabbi actually thinks that he was the one who healed her.”
And so it was.
* * *
Freely adapted from a story heard directly from Rav Shalom Ber Chaikin of Cleveland, Ohio.

Tzvi Meir Cohn attended Yeshiva Hadar Hatorah in Crown Heights, Brooklyn after completing his university studies in Engineering and Law. While studying at the Yeshiva, he discovered a deep connection to the stories and teachings of the Baal Shem Tov. His many books about the Baal Shem Tov can be found in the Breslev Store. He can be contacted at


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