The three most frightening letters in the English language are I-R-S. Soon it will be “that time of year” again. The tax-return strategy I’ve heard whispered about most often is: “Keep out of trouble, don’t raise any red flags, and try to blend in.”…

Read more in this week’s Pathways below.

Download (PDF, 1.37MB)

Facebook Comments

1 Comment

  1. Hello,

    I noticed the essay (on page 2) has a small typo. Here is a link to a nearly identical essay:
    ascentofsafed.com/Stories/Stories/5767/470-09.html

    I also found a video with a similar theme (faith in the Rebbe allowing one to reach lofty goals – although the Pathways essay doesn’t mention about a Rebbe for some reason); it’s about a miracle story with the Lubavitcher Rebbe:
    chabad.org/multimedia/media_cdo/aid/142953/jewish/It-wasnt-me-thank-Him.htm

    I posted also the story here from the link above, since it’s more convenient:

    A once-prosperous merchant who had lost his entire fortune came to Rabbi Avraham Yehoshua Heschel of Apta with the request that he intercede in heaven on his behalf, and advise him as well what to do; he had a daughter of marriageable age, and hardly a penny left to his name. The tzadik asked him how much he needed and how much he had, and he answered that he needed a thousand rubles for the wedding and the dowry, and in his pocket he had exactly one ruble.

    “Go in peace,” said the tzadik, “and take up the first offer of a transaction that comes your way. May G-d make your way prosper!”

    A strange instruction, indeed: business without capital? But after this first thought the man relied on his faith in the words of his rebbe and set out on his way.

    He arrived at an inn which he found was frequented by dealers in gems. He approached the table around which a group of them were crowded, and examined the diamonds that were set out on it.

    “What are you looking at here?” asked a Jewish dealer. “Are you perhaps interested in buying one of these diamonds?”

    “I am,” replied the man.

    “And how much money do you have, if I may ask?” said the dealer.

    “One ruble,” was the reply.

    The whole group burst out in uproarious laughter.

    The dealer continued boldly: “Listen here! I’ve got a deal for you that needs only one ruble. Buy my share in the World to Come!”

    “I am agreeable,” said the new arrival, “on condition that you confirm the sale in writing, and sign it according to law.”

    The gem dealer agreed, and egged on by the derisive laughter of his friends, he wrote out and signed a contract of sale, which he duly handed over to the purchaser in exchange for his last ruble. Having nothing more to do in the company of these people, the traveler found himself a quiet corner, took out of his pack the volume of the Talmud that he always carried with him, and was soon deep in thought.

    While they were still chuckling with scorn at the hapless batlan who had just paid out his last ruble for a commodity that did not yet exist, in walked the wife of that gem-dealer. As it happened most of his gems in fact belonged to her; in fact, his whole wealth had come to him through an estate which she had inherited. She asked what they were snickering about, and they told her.

    Incensed, she turned upon her husband: “So just in case you did have a share in the Next World coming to you, did you have to go and sell it, and remain naked like some heathen?” I’m not going to live with a pagan like you! Come along with me to the rabbinical court and give me a bill of divorce!”

    He stammered out an attempt at an excuse: he had only meant the whole thing to be a joke, and so on. His wife remained unconvinced. She was not going to be the wife of a pagan who had no share in the World to Come!

    Her husband begged one of the employees of the inn to search around urgently for the new arrival.

    When he joined the distraught couple, the dealer addressed him as follows: “Listen here, my good fellow. I’m sure you realize, don’t you, that everything that passed between us was one big joke? Here take your ruble back, and return me the contract, Okay?”

    “Not at all,” said the traveler. “Business is business. I certainly had no joke in mind!”

    “If so,” said the gem-dealer, “I’ll let you make a profit of a few rubles on the deal, and you can sell me back again what you bought from me.”

    “The profit I demand,” said the traveler, “is one thousand rubles.”

    “Are you out of your mind?” shouted the dealer, red with rage. “For some miserable little bit of paper that I gave you, you’re demanding such a fortune?”

    At this point his wife chimed in decisively: “Even if he demands five thousand rubles you must ransom your share in the World to Come.”

    The dealer quietly offered the stranger a hundred rubles, but he refused.

    “I would like you to know,” he said, “that I am not the impractical batlan that you and your friends take me for. I too was once a businessman, except that I lost my fortune, and it was the holy rebbe of Apta who advised me to accept the first offer of a transaction that presented itself – because I need a thousand rubles with which to marry off my daughter. And I am not going to forgo one solitary kopek out of that one thousand rubles!”

    Two hundred, three hundred – each successive offer received the same answer: not a kopek less than one thousand rubles. Words were never going to make any impression on a man as stubborn as this, and in the end the gem-dealer had no option but to give him that whole sum in exchange for his bill of sale.

    His wife now turned to the stranger and exclaimed that she would very much like to speak with the tzadik of Apta.

    “My pleasure,” he said. “Allow me to direct you to him.”

    When they arrived there, the woman said to the rabbi: “I am of course pleased that through my agency such good fortune should come the way of that poor fellow. But I have one question of you, Rebbe. Is my husband’s share in the World to Come in fact worth one thousand rubles?”

    “At the time of the first sale,” replied the tzadik, “when he sold his share in the World to Come for the price of one ruble, his share in it was not worth even that one ruble. But at the time of the second sale, when he bought back his share in the World to Come for a thousand rubles and helped to marry off the daughter of a poor fellow Jew, his share in That World was worth far, far more than a thousand rubles. No money can measure its worth.”

    Citation: ascentofsafed.com/Stories/Stories/5767/470-09.html

Write A Comment

Author

More BRI Sites