Two business partners worked hard to make it in the world. Eventually they separated, but remained good friends. One partner went on to great success and grew very wealthy. His former partner, though, lost everything. Lacking prospects, he decided to approach his old partner for help.
The wealthy man’s compassion was aroused and he graciously agreed to support his old friend. They went on this way for years; sometimes the poor man could make ends meet, but often he needed help. His wealthy friend was always generous and caring.
Eventually the poor man got back on his feet and found a good investment. It succeeded, and he began to build his capital. Everything he turned his hand to was a success, and he began to feel a bit full of himself. Curiously, at around the same time, his wealthy former partner lost all his money. Naturally, the latter approached his newly wealthy friend – the man he had supported for so many years. To his shock, his old friend didn’t want to know him. Not only wouldn’t he give him a penny, he wasn’t even willing to grant an audience to such a downtrodden person! The formerly wealthy partner was infuriated, and burned with resentment for years.
A decade later, their fortunes reversed again. Now the wealthy partner who had fallen was wealthy again, and the arrogant man who had risen from nothing was destitute. To the shock of the man whose wealth was restored, the poor man he had once supported and who had treated him so meanly actually came to his house for help!
“I will have him thrown out,” muttered the man whose generosity had been so badly served.
But then he stopped himself. He walked into the room where his ex-partner anxiously waited and, with superhuman effort, smiled and threw him a valuable coin. “Here, take a rendel,” he said.
After a long life, the wealthy man passed away. It was time for him to be judged on high. His many flaws and failures appeared as accusing angels. Just then a voice called out, “Here, take a rendel.” And all the accusing angels dispersed.
After telling this story, Rabbi Levi Yitzchok Bender added, “Rebbe Nachman said, ‘The main point of our Jewishness is to overturn anger to mercy.’”
Based on Noam Siach III, pp. 24-27