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Story: Shabbat Shuvah/Ha-azinu, 9/26/20

10/06/2020 02:52:54 PM


Rabbi Charlie

See Rabbi Charlie share this story HERE.

Shabbat Shalom! We are Israel, we who struggle with God and as we start the new year, there’s a lot of struggle going on. So, here’s a great story that reflects the best of that struggle featuring Rabbi Levi Yitzhak of Berditchev – a Chassidic Rabbi known as a defender of the Jewish People.

While it’s one we tell at the beginning of the Yom Kippur afternoon service, it’s one of my favorites and so appropriate right now!

It was late in the afternoon on Yom Kippur. Rabbi Levi Yitzhak had been praying in the Berditchev synagogue all day. For a moment, he closed his tired eyes. Suddenly, he was before the Judgment Seat of God. The fate of humanity was being weighed in the great scales. Alas, the sins were heavy; the prospects for humanity were bleak. Rabbi Levi Yitzhak pleaded with God: "If You wanted us to be angels, You should have let us remain in the Garden of Eden. But You sent us out into the world! And the daily struggle often puts us into the hands of sin."

God was moved and motioned the rabbi to a nearby chair. The rabbi continued. His appeal was sincere and convincing. The scales began to tilt in humanity's favor. Suddenly, the rabbi heard a piteous cry. He looked down to earth, into the tiny Berditchev synagogue. Chaim, the washerman, fasting on this holiest day, had fainted from hunger. Levi Yitzhak rose to leave, to hurry back to earth to conclude the service so that Chaim could break his fast.

A voice called after him: "Levi Yitzhak! Where are you going? You were on the verge of saving the world." Replied Levi Yitzhak: "Where is it written that the price of salvation must be the life of Chaim, the washerman?"And he left.

As he hurried on his way, a great chorus of angels sang: "Levi Yitzhak, you are saving the world!"

We’ve been trying to figure out how to function in this world and it’s been a struggle. A lot of people have wanted to find ways to help, but the need has been so great that it’s overwhelming.

This story speaks to the understanding that sometimes we might feel the pain and suffering of the whole world, but the best thing to do is what we can. Participate in the food drive, reach out to someone who needs it – don’t fix the whole world - just help out one person – because somethings that one person is worth the entire world!


Thu, January 21 2021 8 Sh'vat 5781