Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Who Do You See?

Art: Gustave Caillebotte

''But Yeshurun grew fat and kicked'' [Ha'azinu 32:15]

The maggid R' Yechiel Michel of Zlochev had a chassid who at one time was very poor.  But then he tried his hand at business, and he quickly became a very wealthy man.  However, the more his wealth and standing grew, the further he drifted from Torah and mitzvot.

One day, the maggid paid a visit to his disciple and requested that he make a charitable donation to an important cause.  The chassid, however, evaded the request with several excuses.

The maggid walked over to the window and asked the chassid to join him.  As they gazed out into the streets, the maggid asked him, ''What do you see?''

''I see people walking through the streets'' responded the wealthy chassid.

The maggid then led the chassid to a mirror: ''Now what do you see?'' asked the maggid.

''Now'' answered the chassid, ''I see myself.''

''Do you know what the difference is between a window and a mirror?'' asked the maggid.  ''A window is clear and transparent and therefore, when you look at it, you see others.  A mirror, however, is coated with silver. Therefore, when you look at it, you see only yourself.''

[Written by Rabbi Yisrael Bronstein]

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