By Simon Rocker
April 28, 2010
I came across a reference on a blog to people keeping Reb Shayale in their cupboards to ward off mice.
I confess to not having the foggiest idea of what this meant, so I googled it up.
And for those similarly perplexed, here is the answer courtesy of the
“Affectionately known as Reb Shaya’le (Rabbi Yeshaya Steiner of Kerestir), the Kerestirer Rebbe lived around the beginning of the 20th century. He was a very pious man and extremely humble, always referring to himself in the diminutive (Shaya’le). He was known as a “miraculous” person. His greatest pleasure was to host a very elaborate melaveh malkah, the meal that follows Shabbos, on Saturday night. Often he would have his chassidim shecht fresh chickens for his meal.
“One motzo’ay Shabbos, while Reb Shaya’le was eating this special melaveh malkah meal, a Chossid came to him with an urgent request. He was a man who had a warehouse full of foodstuffs and he made his living by buying an selling food. For the past number of months, his warehouse had been taken over by mice who were eating his grain and other commodities and his entire livelihood was threatened. He asked Reb Shaya’le for a blessing that the mice should leave his warehouse. At that time, each small town in Europe was ruled by the local church pastor. Some of the pastors were kind towards the Jews and others were very harsh. Reb Shaya’le asked the Chossid if the pastor of the town he lived in was kind or harsh. The Chossid replied that he was very harsh toward the Jews. Reb Shaya’le then instructed the Chossid to go to his warehouse and to tell the mice, “Reb Shaya’le says to go to the estate of the pastor.” The Chossid followed the Rebbe’s advice and instantly hundreds of mice raced out of the warehouse all heading in the direction of the pastor's estate. The Chossid’s business was saved and ever since Jews who have been plagued with this problem have used Reb Shaya’le’s picture to accomplish the ridding of mice from their homes.”