Rabbi Meir Nissan Nussboim and R. Kalman Hassid

When Maggid Rabbi Manis worked in Siedlce, Rabbi Meir Nissan Nusbaum served as the monthly “Parnas”, one of the three “Dozor”s who led the community, each for one month.

Meir Nissan Nusbaum was an educated man, knew Hebrew and Polish well (he translated the book “examination of the World” into Polish), was a great scholar and learned SHAS in company every day. He earned his living as a contractor, and also owned a tavern. He was very popular with the authorities and they put a lot of trust in him. When he sat as a representative of the Jewish population at the military conscription committee, it was enough that he said anyone that is familiar to him is a sickly, and he was immediately released.

Meir Nissan Nusbaum was a strong opponent, but that did not stop him from tying friendship with one of the biggest Hasidim at Siedlce at the same time, Rabbi Kalman Hasid, who lived next door.

Rabbi R. Bunim would often be a guest at the home of Rabbi Kalman Hasid, when he frequented the city on business matters in which he dealt before he became known as Rebbe. His employer was the famous lady Tamar’l from Warsaw, who was the supplier of goods to the army, and on her mission would Bunim occasionally visit Siedlce. When Rabbi Kalman introduced Rabbi Bunim to his friend – Meir Nissan Nusbaum, the two befriended each other, conversed and played chess.

Once, during a chess game, Reb Bunim made a mistake and asked R. Meir to allow him to retract. However, Rabbi Meir Nissan refused. “You made a mistake, so you’ve lost,” he said to the Rebbe.

“You’re right,” answered Reb Bunim. “A person has to be careful not to make mistakes, lest he reach such a grave error that he cannot correct.”

But this refusal did not harm friendship, and the two used to correspond with each other in matters of Hasidism, and so on.

Rabbi Kalman Hasid was one of the biggest Hasidim in Siedlce. He hosted many ADMORs who came to visit the city at his home. Citizens of Siedlce themselves respected and cherished him dearly. It is told that once Rabbi Kalman attended a circumcision celebration with the attendance of the Rabbi of Stolin – Rabbi Asher The baby’s father honored the Rabbi of Stolin as the godfather, while R Kalman Hasid was granted another Mitzva. This angered many guests and they resented the father for granting R. Kalman less respect than the to the Rabbi of Stolin.

Rabbi Kalman Hasid studied day and night and also taught lessons to young men every day. He was not busy making a living. His wife stood in his little shop. Every morning he used to bring her a piece of bread with butter, and an explanation for his habit, too:

“As it’s written in the Ketuba I gave you: ‘I will provide all that is necessary for your sustenance according to the usual custom of Jewish husbands’, and I myself cannot earn a living, I do this to fulfill my duty toward you.”

Written by Yitzhak Nahum Weintraub in the book: “Ancestors Tell Siedlce”.
Translated from Hebrew by Mr. Yuval Romano