from Zichron Zot (Mei-Avdut Hatzaddikim 38), 1892
I have decided for a reason known to me to add here the following story of the Neschizer rebbe when he was in the town of Ratna.
Mr. Yosef of Ravne came to him before going on to travel to the Holy Land. He told him a story, and after he left, the Neschizer told it [from his own perspective] as follows.
In the year 5618 (told the rebbe), I was in a certain town where a new synagogue was about to be built. I was asked to attend a ceremony to mark the placing of the cornerstone.
My carriage was harnessed to go from my lodgings to the synagogue site. Usually I would walk in front and the carriage would follow afterwards. But this time Hashem sent me the idea that I should send my carriage ahead of me, while I and the other people followed behind.
(Author’s note: I recall all of this as though it were happening today, because I was there.)
There was a person there who was enticed to do evil. There was a bridge along the way, and he secretly sawed through its pillars so that when I traveled over the bridge the sawn posts would break and the bridge would be destroyed.
(As is known, many people would ordinarily hold onto his carriage, and so it would be very heavy.)
But with Hashem’s kindness, since I had given word that the carriage should travel in front, when it went over the bridge and the pillars began to move to the side so that the bridge began to break, tipping over the carriage, the people accompanying me were told to go to the other side of the bridge.
After that, the Holy One, blessed be He, made it known that the person who had done the sawing had gone insane. [This happened because] he confessed his sin in public. As a result, he was taken to the paupers’ hospital.
R. Yosef went there and saw him when his mind was clear. The sick man told him that all of this occurred to him in punishment for something that he had done.
When the Neschizer rebbe told this story, a member of his household, [his aide,] said, “So should all of Your enemies be destroyed, Hashem, and all those who intend evil to the master.”
The Neschizer replied, “Why do you curse?”
The aide answered, “Am I not speaking properly? Certainly this should happen to whoever contemplates doing evil to the master even if he does so just once a year.”
The Neschizer answered him angrily, “Hashem does not listen to curses from the mouth of a person who likes to drink a little whisky and then lie down to sleep.”
The aide responded, “If so, then let Hashem be zealous on behalf of the honor of a person who does not drink whiskey and who does not love to sleep”—with which he alluded to the honorable Neschizer.
The Neschizer replied, “Such a person does not curse and is not pleased with your words.”