Thursday, February 7, 2008

A Cry in the Dark

The Rebbe of Radoshitz, zt”l, liked to tell a story about true love of Hashem. Once, while he was staying at an inn while on a journey, he was awakened suddenly in the middle of the night. The Rebbe heard heart-rending moaning and sobbing, apparently emanating from the innkeeper’s own quarters. The man was so brokenhearted that his cries had reached the Rebbe’s room.

The Rebbe said to himself, “It must be that this innkeeper is actually a hidden tzaddik. Although there was nothing in the way he behaved when I met him earlier to indicate that he has it in him, it seems that the mourning of Tikkun Chatzos has so overtaken him that even I can hear his crying. I’ve never heard a more sincere recitation of the tefillah in my entire life!”

Just as the Rebbe was considering this new perspective on the innkeeper, the man’s loud moaning apparently woke up his wife. Her voice trembled with worry as she called to him, “Yankel, what’s the matter?”

Yankel’s response was a real eye-opener for the Rebbe.

The innkeeper sobbed, “Kugel, kugel, kugel! Why does it have to be kugel every single night? This heartburn is killing me!”

When telling the tale, the Rebbe of Radoshitz would end off by saying: “I had thought the innkeeper was a nistar in love with Hashem and yearning for redemption. Little had I realized that he was just in love with his stomach and yearning for a change in his evening menu!”

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