The Ramban writes about the mitzvah to listen to our Torah Sages: “Its intention is that in accordance with their opinion does Hashem give us the Torah. Even if it is in your eyes like replacing the right with the left – and all the more so, when they say about the right that it is right – you must think that the Spirit of G-d is upon them ... ‘He will not leave His pious ones, they will always be protected,’ from erring and from stumbling. And the language of the Sifrei is: ‘Even if they show to your eyes about the right that it is the left and the left that it is the right, nevertheless, listen to them.’”
The rav of Ramat Elchanan, R’ Yitzchok Zilberstein, shlita, records a remarkable story that illustrates how simple trust in our Torah sages (emunas chachamim) can bring about salvation, for when they speak they do so with a “Spirit of G-d.”
There were two prominent families of talmidei chachamim from Bnei Brak who concluded a shidduch between their children. Despite the fact that both families were of extremely limited means, the chasan and kallah agreed to sacrifice many of their own wants and would be satisfied with whatever their families could give them. As is the custom in Israel, the parents of both families exuded great effort to put together money to buy an apartment for the young couple. In the end, they were able to scratch together the sum total of $40,000. It wasn’t much but it was all they had.
R’ Zilberstein relates how the parents went to one of the gedolim in Bnei Brak to ask him where to purchase an apartment for the young couple, explaining that they had only $40,000. The rav heard all the details and instructed them to buy an apartment in Bnei Brak. Then he extended his hand to them, blessing them with brachah and hatzlachah.
The parents were unsure if they had heard correctly. Forty thousand dollars is not enough to buy half an apartment, let alone in the exorbitant real estate market of Bnei Brak! The parents continued to speak to the rav, clarifying that they wished to buy an apartment, not rent, but the rav repeatedly told them that they should buy an apartment in Bnei Brak.
Although it seemed impossible that they’d succeed in buying an apartment with so little money, both families had very strong emunas chachamim. They went to all the real-estate agents in town, saying they were looking for an apartment selling for $40,000 – even though it was clear that the cheapest and smallest two-room apartment cost over $110,000.
Naturally, the agents did not take them seriously, but nevertheless listed the request. The parents, as well as the chasan and kallah, though, had no doubt in their mind that if the tzaddik told them to purchase in Bnei Brak they would succeed.
Sometime afterward, one of the agents called with great news: he had an apartment whose owner was finally persuaded to sell for exactly $40,000. “But there’s a catch,” the agent explained. “The owner is a single older man. He has a spacious, three-room apartment in a great location. He’s not selling the whole apartment per se; rather, he is willing to sell two of the rooms to a young couple on condition that he continues living in the third room with them. Also, he insists that the new residents take care of all his needs, including food, laundry, etc. In the event the buyers meet his conditions satisfactorily, they will then inherit the third room after the man passes away, and the entire apartment will be theirs.” Quite a deal indeed! The families discussed the idea and put it before the prospective bride and groom. In the end, they felt that landing this apartment for this price was a sign from heaven, and agreed to all the conditions. That same day they signed a contract.
The wedding was set for another month and a half. The couple had mixed feelings at first, realizing that they would be burdened with the care of the older single, which would not be easy for them, especially at the beginning of their marriage. However, they saw it as a miracle that Hashem was fulfilling the words of the tzaddik, who had instructed them to buy a home in Bnei Brak, something that had not seemed feasible. They would just have to put up with the added issues.
After they had purchased the apartment, or more correctly, the two out of three rooms of the man’s apartment, the parents felt that a weight had been lifted from their shoulders and proceeded with preparations for the wedding. And wouldn’t you know, five days before the wedding, the older single man passed away. On the table in his apartment lay the contract, stating that upon his passing the entire apartment would be bequeathed to the young couple!