Rabbi Yitzchak of Drohovitch

Student of the Baal Shem Tov and a famous Kabbalist of his generation.

Died: , 1758

Kabbalist, father of  Rabbi Yechiel Michel, the Maggid of Zlotchov and a disciple of the Baal Shem Tov.

Rabbi Yechiel Michel of Zlotchov (1731-1786), while being a boy was introduced to the Baal Shem Tov, by his father Rabbi Yitzchak. 

White and Redemption

Rabbi Yitzhak of Drohobitch  wanted all Jews to wear white on the holy Shabbat, for he knew that if all the Jews wore white, the redemption would come. So he traveled around from town to town to encourage people to wear white. But the Satan appeared to him and warned him, "If you don't drop this, I'll make everybody into 'chasidim'!" "If that's the case, I'll give it up. But I'm making this trip," he said, "only to raise charity for myself and my family." Hearing that, the Satan left, satisfied. But then, Rabbi Yitzhak wanted to continue his journey to arouse the Jews to wear white on Shabbat, to accomplish what he wanted to accomplish. But in the end, he didn't succeed.

Wearing white was so important that the Satan felt he had to get involved to thwart Rabbi Yitzhak. He threatened that he'd make everybody into "Chasidim," meaning they'd be his "Chasidim"-- phonies who would wear white but would be black inside. Yet, Rabbi Rabbi Yitzhak was not intimidated by this threat!

Why is white important? Because it represents purity and happiness. As long as we are depressed and dark, as long as we wear black and drab colors, the Messiah won't come on his white donkey. If wearing white is so important, why don't we at least try?  (by Yitzhak Buxbaum)

Meeting the Baal Shem Tov

Complaints about the inefficacy of the kameyot reached the Baal Shem Tov's ears, and when he investigated, he discovered that R' Yitzchak's words had rendered them useless. The Baal Shem Tov exerted his tremendous powers of concentration and caused R' Yitzchak to become confused as to which day of the week it was. R' Yitzchak was traveling and when he arrived in Medziboz on Friday afternoon, he mistakenly thought it was Thursday. Being in no particular hurry, he prayed, had a bite to eat and lay down for a nap.

When he awoke, he was shocked to find the entire staff of the inn preparing for the holy Sabbath. "What is going on?" he inquired. "Why are you already prepared for Shabbat, when it's only Thursday afternoon?"

"Why, you are mistaken, it is almost Shabbat," everyone assured him. But R' Yitzchak wouldn't believe them. Only when he went outside and saw the street filled with Jews running this way and that did he conclude that it was indeed Shabbat eve.

R' Yitzchak hurried back to the inn to quickly prepare for the holy day, but his preparations were interrupted by a visitor - none other than the Baal Shem Tov himself!

"I beg of you to join me for Shabbat," the Baal Shem Tov implored, but Reb Yitzchak declined, saying that the innkeeper had already prepared for him.

"Don't worry," said the Baal Shem Tov. "I have already spoken to the innkeeper, and he forgives your change in plans."

"But, I am accustomed on Shabbat to eat until I am completely satiated," Reb Yitzchak objected. "I'm afraid you won't have enough food for me."

"Don't worry at all; I have prepared a lot of food," the Baal Shem Tov assured him. Finally, Reb Yitzchak ran out of excuses, and had no choice but to accept the Baal Shem Tov's invitation.

When Reb Yitzchak said he was accustomed to eat huge amounts, he wasn't exaggerating, for he fasted the entire week, from Shabbat to Shabbat. At the Shabbat meal he had an enormous silver platter, engraved with God's name, upon which he heaped food. Every week, after he recited the kiddush, he placed the laden platter before him and devoured everything served at each course.

When he finished the portion of food set before him at the Baal Shem Tov's Shabbat table, he accused the Baal Shem Tov, saying, "You promised to provide me enough to fill myself, and I am still hungry, but there is no food remaining!"

"I am truly sorry," replied the Baal Shem Tov. "I expected angels, but I never anticipated serafim (spiritual beings that "consume" everything in their path)!"

When the Sabbath ended, the Baal Shem Tov approached his guest and asked, "Why have you seen fit to remove the efficacy from my kameyot?"

"It is forbidden to make use of the holy names of God in such a manner," R' Yitzchak replied.

"You are mistaken, for I do not use the holy names. All I write in my kameyot is my own name - Yisrael ben Sara."

It was only when the Baal Shem Tov took one of the kameyot and actually showed it to R' Yitzchak that the tzaddik could believe that such miracles could result from kameyot that did not contain the holy names of God. He was so overwhelmed by this discovery that he at once restored the potency to the kameyot, saying, "Almighty God, if such wonders can come from the name of this man alone, why should You mind?" (Mayim Rabim)

May the merit of the tzaddik Rabbi Yitzchak of Drohovitch protect us all, Amen.

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