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Dance Of A Lifetime

by Yehudis Golshevsky

Once there was a simple tailor. He purchased a burial plot in the local cemetery and spent time there every day, reciting the entire Book of Psalms. Naturally, he said the words with great fervor, since he was in the place most suited to remind him that this world is only a temporary stop on the long journey.

Reb Yaakov Yosef of Polonoye, one of the Baal Shem Tov’s greatest students, once passed by the cemetery, close to the tailor’s future gravesite. He thought to himself, “I detect a distinct aroma of Gan Eden here.” He approached the burial society of the town to purchase the plot from which the special aura radiated. “I’m sorry,” said the official, “but that plot was already bought years ago by Shmerel the tailor.”

“Please summon him to me right away,” insisted the great sage. Reb Yaakov Yosef asked the tailor if he would sell the plot to him, but the man refused. “I have spent the last ten years preparing it to be my final resting place. You can’t restore my time to me.”

When Reb Yaakov Yosef heard how much energy and how many tears the tailor had poured into his future resting place, he was astounded. “If that’s the case, then I want to be buried right next to you!” he declared. He immediately purchased the neighboring plot for himself.

Ten years later, Reb Leib, the Maggid of Polonoye, passed by the tailor’s plot. “I detect the scent of Gan Eden here,” he thought. He summoned the tailor and asked him to sell it to him. “I will give any price you ask,” he promised.

But the tailor refused. “I’m sorry, but I have spent twenty years preparing this place for my eternal rest. Every day I recited the entire Book of Psalms there. How can I possibly sell that?”

The Maggid was astonished. “If so, I want to be buried next to you!” He purchased the plot on the other side of the “simple” tailor.

The tailor continued his daily practice for another eight years. Then he passed away and was buried in his plot, surrounded by the two great men who had already passed on.

Based on Siach Sarfey Kodesh III:613

Image By Wolfgang Sauber (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

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