Monday, 27 July 2009

A Time for Peace

We are taught that our precious Temple fell due to evil speech and baseless hatred. Here is a beautiful story, adapted in part from the Tales of Tzaddikim by Artscroll ....

The virulent power of evil gossip! What hatred Loshon Hara can sow in people's heart! It was only the venom or malicious talk that led to bad relations between Rav Tzvi, the Admor of Stertin and Rav Meir of Premislan.

A young man, an ardent follower of both great rabbis was very distressed over the controversy that arose between them. He decided to do what he could to resolve the situation.When his wife gave birth to a boy, the chasid invited both Admorim to attend the bris. He decided to make one the Mohel and the other the Sandak, without telling either that the other was invited.

Early on the morning of the bris, the father hired a nice coach and went to fetch Rav Tzvi the Mohel. On the way home he said that he had to collect the Sandak as well. He drove to Rav Meir's home in Premislan and got out of the coach to call him. When he returned with Rav Meir, Rav Tzvi turned his head away, refused to either greet or look at Rav Meir. In the meantime, Rav Meir, known for his generous, forgiving heart, was not insulted. Instead he said:

" Let me tell you a true story. ' This happened during the Spanish Inquisition when Jews were forced to either leave the country of give up their religion. Many of them, the Marranos, renounced their religion but remained Jews in secret.

One time a government minister lay on his deathbed. A 'converted' Jew, he knew that if he did not summon a priest to hear his dying confession and to give him the last rites, he would be endangering his entire family. He allowed a priest to be summoned but when the priest arrived, he pretended to be too weak to talk. The priest asked the doctor if the patient was really so weak. 'No' the doctor replied. 'He is dying, but he is not too feeble to accept the last rites.' When the priest saw that the minister had turned his face to the wall, he guessed that he really did not want to die as a Christian. The priest, who was a Marrano himself, ordered everyone to leave the room, since he must hear the confidential confession of the dying man. When everyone had left the room, he bent over the patient and whispered the shema in his ear. With a smile of relief, the minister turned his face to the priest and together they said the Jewish viduy, before his soul departed. ' "

Rav Meir finished his tale and thrust out his hand in a friendly gesture to Rav Tzvi. "Shalom aleichem, Rav Tzvi!" he said. "Are we not both Jews, both serving one G-d? We have a common goal in life. Why should we not strive towards it together?"

Rav Tzvi smiled, taking Rav Meir's hand in his own. And peace reigned between the two once more.

May all of Am Yisrael merit to have peace amongst us and the coming of our Righteous Redeemer immediately.

1 comment:

YoJewMama said...

It's a big risk to forgive and extend a hand and even bigger to ask forgiveness. This story ended well, but it doesn't always come out so happy. Still, may we all find the strength to find the right story at the right time, or have the courage to risk bringing people together. Hashem should just give us the vision, the strength and the joy of healing with each other.

Thanks for sharing a beautiful story.


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