Ask for the Redemption

Ask for the Redemption

On Yom Kippur, The Kedushat Levi, Reb Levi Yitzchak of Berdichev, saw Yankel the tailor in the back of the shul gesticulating and being very animated. So after the long day of prayer was completed he went up the the tailor and said,

“Yankel, I couldn’t help noticing how fervently you were praying, I hope I am not being intrusive to ask you what was that all about?”

“Well Rebbe I was talking with G!d about my sins. And I said to G!d, ‘I did a few things that I regret this past year. I skimped on thread for the button holes, made hems a little smaller than they should be so I would have thread to patch my children’s clothing. I got angry at my beloved wife a couple of times. These were my sins G!d'”

The Rebbe responded.
“Please forgive me, but these don’t seem to be such major transgressions as to warrant the intense manner in which you offering your prayers.”

“Yes, but I’m not finished explaining,” the tailor continued.
I then said to haShem, “But You, You know very well that very close to here there was a progrom, and over there was a flood, and over here was a drought, and in the next town some homes were destroyed by fires. You have a pretty good list yourself. I’ll make a deal with You. You forgive my sins and I’ll forgive Your sins.”

Reb Levi Yitzchak looked at him and said, “You fool. You had Him in the palm of your hand. Why did’t you ask for the redemption?”

(Note: This story was recently retold to me by my teacher Rabbi Daniel Siegel. I have re-crafted it, and now it is your story to tell as well.)

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R’ Zalman tz’l teaches that a good maisa – a good story – is one where the heart surprises the mind.

Please feel free to use these stories in your teaching and in your holy conversations. ​​I welcome your gentle comments.