The Black Wolf

There was once a man who lived in a town called Tchentzikov. This man was no ordinary man—he was the rov of the town. To be a rov is a big honor and duty.

Regardless of all the honors they received, the rov and his wife were very sad. Why were they sad? They were sad because they were childless.

The rov and his wife would have loved to have children, so they did everything they in their power to receive Hashem’s brocha. They davened with more kavana, they learnt more Torah, and they gave extra tzedoka.

Obviously, Hashem did not want them to have children, because what ever they tried not help.

After many, many years had passed—eighteen years to be precise—the rov and his wife still had not been blessed with a child. They decided to go to their Rebbe, the Koznitzer Maggid.

The rov went to his Rebbe, and arranged for a yechidus. At the yechidus, the rov spoke about how he wanted to have children.

When the Koznitzer Maggid hear the rov’s problems, he put down his head, as if in deep thought. When he picked up his head, he said: “The gates in shomayim to have a baby are closed for you. For you they will not open. I cannot open them for you either…”

When the rov heard this, his heart sank. Here he thought he would get a brocha from his Rebbe, but now it seemed as if there was no hope. If his Rebbe, who was a great tzaddik, could not open the gates in the shomayim, then who could?

The Koznitzer Maggid continued: “Even though I can’t open the gates for you, there is someone who can. There is only one person who can get Hashem to open the gates for you. He is called ‘Shvartze Volf—the black wolf.’”

The rov knew who Shvartze Volf was. He was a mean man, and he lived in the forest close to Tchentzikov. Nobody liked him, because he was always screaming at people, and he looked like a monster. He was so mean and scary!

The rov thought that maybe his Rebbe was talking about another Shvartze Volf, who he did know about. But no…

“I am talking about the Shvartze Volf who lives next to Tchentzikov, in the forest,” the Koznitzer Maggid said. “He is the leader of the hidden tzadikim, and he is the only one who can help you.”

When the rov got back to his town, he started asking people if they knew exactly were Shvartze Volf lived. No one really knew, and most of the people did not want to know.

After doing much searching, the rov found a few people who did try to “visit” Shvartze Volf. But, all these people became scared when they heard the screaming coming from Shvartze Volf’s house, and they decided not to visit him after all. They did not know exactly were he lived, but they knew the approximate location, and they told the rov.

Now that the rov knew where Shvartze Volf lived, he had a problem. He wanted to make sure that Shvartze Volf did not chase him away from his house, as he had done to other people who were able to get close enough. The rov spent the next few days thinking about an idea.

And then, finally, it came to him…


The rov’s plan was as follows: He would go into the forest on a Friday afternoon, and pretend that he was lost. He would walk in circles and circles until he would “come upon” a house, which will “just happen to be” Shvartze Volf’s.

Then, the rov would knock on Shvartze Volf’s door, and say that he was a traveler who was lost in the forest and needed a place to stay for Shabbos. “No one could refuse a yid who is lost in the forest and needs a place to stay for Shabbos,” the rov thought.

So, the next Friday, the rov set out to follow his plans. Even though he was a little scared, and it meant spending Shabbos away from his town, he was ready to do it.

In the forest, the rov started “wandering around,” pretending to be lost. Then, he found Shvartze Volf’s house. It was broken and falling apart.

The rov heard screaming coming from inside the house, and it got louder and louder as he approached the house. It sounded like Shvartze Volf’s wife.

When the rov got to the house, he found a mezuza, and he knocked on the door. He then heard a Shvartze Volf’s wife shout from inside: “Who’s there?! Who came to our house?! Get away from here! Don’t you know that this is Shvartze Volf’s house?! Get away!!!”

The rov was actually pretty lucky that Shvartze Volf’s wife answered the door, because Shvartze Volf himself was much meaner and scarier, but the rov was still very scared.

The rov said: “I am a traveler, and I am lost here in the forest. I need a place to stay for Shabbos. Can you help me?”

The door then opened, and standing there was Shvartze Volf’s wife. She was so mean looking, and she shouted: “Get away from here! Go away! This is the house of Shvartze Volf. Nobody comes here! If my husband catches you here, he’ll tear you into pieces!

“This is not a place for travelers lost in the forest, especially you. You want to spend Shabbos here?! Get away!!!”

The rov was so scared! “Well, what can I do then?” he asked. “I am lost in the forest and I need a place to stay, just for Shabbos!”

“Okay,” Shvartze Volf’s wife said. “I will do you a favor. I will let you spend Shabbos in the stable, with all the animals. But I warn you; if my husband finds out, you’re finished! I’m just doing you a favor.

“So, get yourself in there now, and don’t you dare stick out your nose, or else he might find out about you! Oh, and have a good Shabbos!”

So, the rov went into the stable, and sat down behind all the animals. He just sat there, and waited. He was waiting for something to happen. Of course, he was very scared.

After a while, he heard noises coming from the house. He heard two people talking. It sounded like Shvartze Volf and his wife.

“Shvartze Volf, I am going to tell you something that I was not going to tell you.”

“What are you going to tell me that you were not going to tell me?!”

“Well, somebody came to our house!”

“What?! Somebody came to our house?! Who came to our house?!”

“Yeah. It was some man. He said that he was lost, and he needed a place to stay for Shabbos!”

“A man wanted to spend Shabbos in our house? Oh boy, he’s lucky I didn’t get my hands on him! Did you get rid of him?”

“Well, yes, but I do not think he went too far.”

“What do you mean, you do not think he went to far? He was not scared enough of you?!”

“No, not that. I told him to go in the barn, to spend Shabbos with our animals.”

“What?! You told him to spend Shabbos in our stable? I do not want anybody to be with our animals, especially this man who you are talking about!! I am going to get him!!!”

When the rov heard that, he started to become scared. What would Shvartze Volf do to him? Would he rip him up into pieces, as his wife had said? The rov had a very strange feeling. On one hand, he knew that this man was a great tzaddik, but on the other hand, he was so mean and scary looking.

Shvartze Volf then came into the stable. The rov wanted to hide, but he knew that there was no point in doing that, because Shvartze Volf would find him anyway.

Shvartze Volf came over to the rov, and said: “You, are going to spend Shabbos in this stable. If I find out that you even stuck your nose out, you will be in big trouble, and I will tear you into pieces. Do you understand?!”

“Yes,” the rov replied. “Yes. I understand.” Shvartze Volf then left, and slammed the door behind him.

The rov thought to himself: “This is very strange. My Rebbe sent me here, to the leader of the 36 hidden tzaddikim. He definitely did not make a mistake. He told me to go to Shvartze Volf, that lives next to Tchentzikov, in the forest.

“It just does not make sense that everything I see is so ugly and scary. If Hashem wants me to get a brocha, why couldn’t he give it to me in a different way?

“But, my Rebbe sent me here. This was meant to be. There must be a reason why everything is so ugly and scary.”

Then, something else crossed the rov’s mind. “A tzaddik is a person who is not for himself,” he was thinking. “A tzaddik is for others. A tzaddik is always giving brochos, davening for people, teaching Torah and doing the things that Hashem wants.

“A mirror is the same thing. A mirror is not for itself. If a mirror would be for itself, it would have no point. A mirror reflects other people.”

After thinking this over, the rov thought: “Maybe the same thing applies by a tzaddik. Maybe a tzaddik is also a mirror and reflects other people, not physically, but spiritually. So, by looking at Shvartze Volf, maybe I am just seeing a reflection of myself, in an enlarged sense.”

With this in mind, the rov started doing teshuva for the little things that might be making his visit to Shvartze Volf so unpleasant.

Then, after sitting in the stable and pouring out his heart to Hashem for quite a while, the rov felt that he had tried his best to do teshuva, and he felt very close to Hashem.

Just then, the door of the stable opened, and in walked Shvartze Volf. He had the biggest smile on his face, and he was all happy and nice. He did not look like the Shvartze Volf from a few hours ago. He looked very different.

Shvartze Volf said: “Please come with me into the house. Be with my family. Don’t spend Shabbos in the barn.”

The rov got up, and went with Shvartze Volf into the house. Even the house, looked different. It looked so much nicer. And Shvartze Volf’s family… Everything was so nice and Shabbosdik—not like before.

The rov realized that his teshuva had helped. Shvartze Volf said to him: “I know why you came. You came to get a brocha for children. The gates in the shomayim for you to have a baby are now open. However, I would like to ask of you one thing; that you name your baby after me, and call him Shvartze Volf.”

The rov told Shvartze Volf that his minhag was not to name babies after a living person. But, Shvartze Volf did not say anything—he just smiled.

So, after Shabbos, the rov went back home, and pretty soon he found out that Shvartze Volf had passed away.

About a year later, when the rov and his wife were blessed with the birth of a baby boy, they named him after the leader of the 36 hidden tzaddikim—Shvartze Volf.

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