"You shall not leave overnight the wages earned by a day laborer, until morning"

"You shall not leave overnight the wages earned by a day laborer, until morning" (Leviticus, chapter 19, verse 13) – Deprivation of wages is a prohibition against delaying the payment of a worker's wages.

The deed of Rabbi Zusha of Anipoli who did not hire a worker and nevertheless was careful to pay on time.

About Rabbi Zusha of Anipoli :

He was one of the founders of the Hasidic movement. He was born to Rabbi Eliezer Lippa, who was rich and a landowner.

In his youth, he was mainly interested in studying Kabbalah. He would wander from place to place (a "forced exile") with his brother, Rabbi Elimelech.

According to custom, the "exiled" would travel around without money and without food for a long time. It was also customary not to sleep in the same place for more than one night. During their travels, the brothers met the Maggid of Mezritch and became his prominent disciples.

Rabbi Zusha served as a rabbi in the town of Annipoli.

He was a symbol of innocence, humility and kindness. It was said, "He did not write any books, or pen any questions and answers and halakhic rulings, but he was honest, righteous and humble and he loved his people unconditionally”.

Rabbi Zusha lived a very destitute life. He would learn next to the fire on the floor of the beit midrash.

It is told that many of the people who heard his name and came from afar to consult with him were surprised by his worn clothes and his simple way of life.

According to a well-known story, the brothers, Rabbi Shmelke of Nikolsburg and Rabbi Pinchas Horowitz, came to the Maggid of Mezritch and asked, “How can we bless G-d for the bad just as we bless for the good?” (As quoted in the last Mishnah in Tractate Berachot).

He sent them to Rabbi Zusha.  They found him behind the stove and told him that the Maggid had sent them. He responded: It seems you have heard incorrectly, I can't explain this to you, as I have never experienced suffering.

He would refer to himself in the third person, "Zusha said," and he explained this by saying that only G-d can say “I”, as in the first of the Ten Commandments, "I am the Lord your G-d".

And, what was this deed?

Rabbi Zusha from Annipoli's wife once asked him to buy her a new garment. And Rabbi Zusha, who was a poor man, suffered greatly from this until he eventually got enough money to buy some cloth. He purchased the cloth, and he gave it to his wife, the Rebbetzin, to give to the tailor to make her a garment.

Rabbi Zusha thought that his wife would be happy, and then, one day he noticed that his wife's face was not as it had been.

 – Is something wrong again – Rabbi Zusha asked – Haven't you already, thank G-d, got a garment?

– What garment? – Responded his wife – I don't have a garment!

Rabbi Zusha was astonished: He himself had given her the piece of cloth needed to make the garment.

The Rebbetzin told him that the tailor had finished the garment and brought it to her when it was ready, and then he suddenly sighed.

The Rebbetzin asked him what he was sighing about, and he told her that his daughter had recently become engaged and when her fiancé saw the dress that the tailor was making he thought it was for his bride.

When he finally found out that the dress was for someone else he got furious and this was causing the tailor heartache.

  • And immediately – the Rebbetzin finished telling her husband – I took the dress and gave it to the tailor for his daughter, the poor bride.

Rabbi Zusha asked her:

  • And, did you pay the tailor his wage?
  • No – The Rebbetzin replied – I gave him the cloth as a gift.
  • How did you do that? – Rabbi Zusha became annoyed – And what about the wage for his labor? The poor man worked all week for you, and only for you, not for his daughter, and with great anticipation he waited to finish his work so he could buy bread for his children with the wage, now what will the poor man do?  And, how is he to blame if you gave the cloth to his daughter, the bride?

The Rebbetzin did not hesitate for a moment, she went and borrowed the money and paid the tailor his wages.

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