Background: In Vitebsk lived a man named R’ Gavriel, a true Talmid Chochom with aidelkeit and good midos. He was the grandson of the old R’ Gavriel, who was respected in the whole city of Vitebsk — even by the governor!
When he was old enough to get married, the young R’ Gavriel married the daughter of a rich man who also lived in Vitebsk. His father-in-law gave him money so he could sit and learn Torah all the time.
When he had questions in his learning, he would often ask another young man living in Vitebsk, named Shneur Zalman. (He would later become the Alter Rebbe!)
After nine years, though, R’ Gavriel’s father-in-law passed away. Now R’ Gavriel had to work, so he took over a store that his father-in-law used to own. Still, he made time to learn, and to listen to R’ Shneur Zalman explain things in Torah.
Then R’ Shneur Zalman went to the Maggid of Mezritch. The people in Vitebsk were sure that Chassidus was against Torah, and they were all furious! They told R’ Yehuda Leib Segal (the Alter Rebbe’s father-in-law) to send him away from his house and not let his daughter stay married to him!
The Alter Rebbe made a public debate, explaining how Chassidus IS Torah. Many people (but not everyone) now understood and agreed that Chassidus was good. R’ Gavriel was one of these people, but his family didn’t like it at all! They started being mean to him because he wanted to learn more Chassidus from R’ Shneur Zalman.
R’ Gavriel’s father was so upset, he even tried to get the governor to kick the Alter Rebbe out of Vitebsk! But because the Alter Rebbe had figured out two mysteries for the governor (one of them you may know, the story of the sundial), the governor didn’t want to do anything to him.
R’ Gavriel had a very hard life. He didn’t have any children (even though he was married for 25 years already), and he didn’t have money either, since his family made so much trouble for him he couldn’t earn anything. But he never complained to the Alter Rebbe, and in fact gave a lot of tzedakah to the Alter Rebbe’s tzedakah funds.
Once R’ Gavriel came home in a sad mood. He told his wife, Chana Rivkah, that the Alter Rebbe had asked Chassidim to give money for Pidyon Shevuyim, but he didn’t have that much money to give. Chana Rivkah said, “Didn’t you tell me that the Rebbe teaches us to have bitachon? Don’t worry, we’ll be able to give the right amount!”
Chana Rivkah sold her jewelry, and brought the money to her husband in a closed bag. “Go bring it right away to the Rebbe,” she told him.
R’ Gavriel said that usually Chassidim wait until the Rebbe’s messenger comes, and send it with the messenger. But soon R’ Gavriel’s brothers made up a story about him to the government, and he lost a lot of money. R’ Gavriel was afraid he would use the money himself if he kept it for too long, so he went himself to bring it to the Alter Rebbe in Liozna.
When he put the bag of money down in front of the Alter Rebbe, the Rebbe told him to open the bag and count it. He was amazed to see that the coins shone like they were brand new!
The Alter Rebbe said the words of today’s Hayom Yom — that the shiniest part of the Mishkan was the Kiyor. Even though it was made last, it was used first!
The Alter Rebbe asked where he had gotten such shiny coins. R’ Gavriel explained how his wife had gotten the money, and how he was afraid he would spend the money, so he brought it now.
The Alter Rebbe told him, “Your wife has destroyed the gezeirah against you! Hashem will give you children, a long life, and wealth! Close your store, and start selling jewelry and diamonds instead.”`
When R’ Gavriel came home and told this to Chana Rivkah, she told him how she had shined the coins with sand, so Hashem could help their mazal shine.
Within three years, R’ Gavriel became very rich, and they were bentched with children. Everyone liked R’ Gavriel — so much that he got a nickname, “R’ Gavriel Nossai Chein!” (“who finds favor”)
You can read the whole story at http://chabad.org/85441