Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Forever Yours

Art by Schnette
Once, a very bitter and frustrated Rabbi in America came to the Kapishnitzer Rebbe and complained of his dire poverty and his inability to afford even basic necessities such as a new hat. He pointed to his head and cried "Just look at this beat-up shmatta that I am forced to wear!"

The Rebbe's eyes lit up and he told the Rabbi "Just stay right where you are, I will return momentarily!" He ran upstairs to his bedroom closet, took out a hatbox, ran downstairs with it and placed it on the table in front of the Rabbi.

Beaming with joy, the Rebbe opened up the box and took out a brand new Rabbinical-style hat and presented it to the Rabbi. The Rabbi was overwhelmed by the Rebbe's generosity but refused to accept the gift. "This is the Rebbe's new Shabbos hat!" he exclaimed. "How can I possibly take it away from him?"

The Rebbe was prepared for this refusal and immediately responded "No! This is not my Shabbos hat, it is really my Olam Habo hat! Don't you want me to have a beautiful hat in the World to Come? Whatever I give away now, here in this world, will be mine forever in the World to Come. What I keep for myself now, in this world, will not be mine in the future!"

[heard from R'Yaakov Greenwald]

Source: "The Tzedakah Treasury" Rabbi Avrohom Chaim Feuer