A few days later, a royal emissary of the Empress Maria Teresa appeared at the rabbi’s home. The surprised rabbi realized that the wealthy Jew had broken the convention by which Jews did not involve non-Jews in their inner disputes. He had no choice.
“This revered day is the reason for the existence of the world, and it therefore deserves to be a holiday. However, because it is the day whereupon all creatures are judged, one should approach it with more trepidation than any of the other holidays.”
When Rabbi Mohilever entered the crowded lecture hall, he looked about at the numerous bareheaded pupils seated before him and began to speak: “I understand that you are proficient in math. Can anybody tell me what the count (“sefirah”) is today?”
The father took the volume in his hand and opened it. “Toldot Yaakov Yosef” by Rabbi Yaakov Yosef of Polonne, the foremost disciple of the Holy Baal Shem Tov. He was seized with horror, for his son-in-law belonged to the sect of the Hassidim.
When the rabbi asked if he did not fear being caught by the police, the merchant said that it was worth the risk in order to earn a living. Furthermore, he had full confidence in his ability to attain and sell smuggled goods without getting caught.
He handed the note to Reb Aryeh Leib. The latter looked at it and could not believe what he saw. It stated that the debtor agrees to return the loan with twenty-five percent interest. "This is a violation of the commandment not to charge interest!"
The Chofetz Chaim said, "Because we are approaching the time of the Messiah, and we will soon have to destroy the seed of Amalek, we are going to need a lot of strength. You must therefore stay fit so that you have the strength to carry out this task."
Whenever the Holy Rabbi Yechezkel of Kozmir met his good friend the Maggid of Koznitz, he would say to him, "Your father was amiable and God-fearing, but he was a simple Jew. What did he do to deserve such a righteous and learned son as yourself?"