Monday, January 28, 2008

The Reward of Joy

Once, a wedding party passed the home of Rav Zushia of Anapoli zt”l, and he immediately ran outside to dance in the street before the bride and groom. Afterward, his family disapproved, claiming that it did not befit him to caper in the streets.

He answered, “When I was a young disciple of the Zlotchover Maggid, he once insulted me. Afterward, he apologized and begged forgiveness, which I gave right away. Before I went to bed that night, he came and begged forgiveness again, and I forgave him.

“As soon as I fell asleep, my Rebbe’s holy father, Rav Yitzchok Terhovitzer, came to me and said: I left only one son in this world, and you want to destroy him just because he insulted you?!

“I insisted that I had forgiven him, but he said, ‘Come with me, and I will teach you what forgiveness is.’

“I followed him to the mikveh, where he told me to immerse three times, and to say that I forgive his son before each immersion.”

“As soon as I got out, I saw that his face was shining with an almost unbearable light. When I asked him about it, he said that this is the reward he received for never taking honor at another’s expense, never going to bed angry at a friend, and not standing on his rights about money.”

The Terhovitzer then added: “But you can attain this reward through joy alone.”

Reb Zushia then smiled. “Do you see now why I danced in the streets?”

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