One of the most beloved chassidishe Rebbes in recent times was Rav Yeshaye Steiner, zt”l (1852-1925), Kerestirer Rebbe, fondly referred to as Reb Shayeleh Kerestirer. His picture is widely circulated and many believe that it wards off mice. That came about from a story told about him:
Once, a Jewish warehouse owner pleaded with Reb Yeshayele for help. His warehouse was infested with mice that were devouring everything stored there, seriously interfering with his livelihood. Reb Yeshayele asked whether the priest in that village was kind or harsh to the Jewish residents. When the man responded that the priest was harsh to the Jews, Reb Yeshayele instructed him to go to the warehouse and loudly order the mice to go to the priest’s home. Miraculously, all the mice immediately left the warehouse as ordered.
Reb Yeshayeleh emphasized hachnosas orchim. There was always plentiful food for those visiting him. On Rosh Hashanah, when many fast until after tekiyas shofar, Reb Yeshayeleh personally sliced kokosh (chocolate) cake so that those praying with him and electing to eat would have a plentiful selection to choose from.
Somehow, he always set exactly just enough chairs for guests that showed up at his Shabbos tisch. One winter Shabbos night, guests looked at each other and wondered at a seat that remained empty. Late into the meal, a straggler showed up. It was obvious to everyone there that the latecomer had gone through an ordeal. Reb Yeshayele enthusiastically welcomed the straggler and told him he had prayed intensely to assure he survived the dangerous encounter.
Grandchildren of Reb Shayeleh have come together and formed an organization called Ner Lehoshia. The name literally translates into Light of Assistance, and that is exactly what the organization strives to do – bring light to homes that need food, clothing, and whatever other assistance is needed.
Chazal cite the tradition that the final judgment of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur becomes conclusive on Zos Chanukah, the eighth and last day of Chanukah. In keeping with that tradition, a large group of descendants of Reb Shayeleh, as well as those who venerate his holy name, will be at his gravesite in Kerestir, Hungary, today to spend the day in prayer and supplication for Heaven to assist them, in the merit of Reb Yeshayeleh, in their holy work. This is in addition to annual grand gatherings at the gravesite on the 3rd of Iyar, his yahrzeit.