In his time, Reb Shaya’le of Kerestir was famed for the lavish Melava Malka he organized each week. The meal lasted through the night and attracted both followers and the needy from far and wide. Reb Shaya’le personally oversaw the slaughtering of fresh meat each Motzaei Shabbos especially for this Melava Malka.
A fascinating anecdote is told regarding Reb Shayale’s Melava Malka. The express train that passed through Kerestir just in time for Melava Malka refused to stop in the small town. Instead many travelers had to continue on to the next city and there disembark and find a carriage to take them back to the small town of Kerestir, costing them an extra hour of difficult travel.
As soon as this situation came to the attention of Reb Shaya’le he sent a message to the conductor asking him to stop briefly in Kerestir. The conductor passed on the request to his superiors, who refused to grant it. The very next Motzaei Shabbos the train mysteriously ground to a sudden halt at the station in Kerestir due to a mechanical problem. After a few minutes the delighted Jewish passengers grabbed the opportunity to jump off and arrive for the beginning of the Melava Malka. As soon as they did so, the train miraculously began functioning again.
This strange occurrence repeated itself each Motzaei Shabbos for the next few weeks. Officials of the railroad company launched an investigation but could find no sign of sabotage. In the end they were forced to make Kerestir the only local stop on the express run. Over 50 years later visitors to Reb Shayale’s kever found that the express train continued to stop at Kerestir even though passengers rarely – if ever – got off!
Today Rav Lehoshia continues Reb Shayale’s tradition with a delicious spread each Motzaei Shabbos offered in the Bobov Beis Medrash right across the street from the Rav Lehoshia office in Yerushalayim at Rechov Chagai 6. Huge pots of vegetable soup are delivered each week by taxi from the home of Reb Moshe Shmuel, a descendant of Reb Shaya’le who cooks the food.
A young volunteer who was blessed with a yeshua in the merit of Reb Shaya’le stands in the kitchen every week cracking open nearly 1,000 eggs to fry up for the Melava Malka. Fresh chalos and rolls are baked each week for the occasion. Inside the beis medrash the tables are set for 300 people at a time, reminiscent of the vast Melava Malka Reb Shaya’le hosted weekly in his modest home. The seats are filled by bachurim with no other place to go for a meal, and by numerous young married men and others who hunger for a solid meal.
There is even a table set aside for those who have not yet heard Havdalah to recite the blessings there and then sit down to a warm Melava Malka. The entire event is overseen by Reb Moshe Shmuel along with another of Reb Shayale’s devoted descendants, Reb Meir Yosef.