Friday, November 05, 2010

For Him Alone

Received via e-mail from a friend:

In the year 1573, there lived a simple Jew in the holy city of Tsfat. He knew how to pray, but never learned to study Torah. Despite his lack of formal religious training, he was exceptionally pure in his deeds and modest in his ways. One night, when he had completed tikkun chatzos, Eliyahu HaNavi knocked at his front door.

When the man asked, "Who's there?" a heavenly voice responded, "Eliyahu HaNavi, may he be remembered for good." The man opened the door, Eliyahu entered, and his home was filled with light and joy. Eliyahu explained that he had come to teach this man the sweet and blessed secrets of Kaballah. Eliyahu even proposed to reveal the most sought-after mystery of all, the secret of what will be in the end-of-days, and when and how Moshiach will arrive. All this Eliyahu offered with one condition: The man must share with him what he did on his bar mitzvah day that was so meritorious that it earned him the reward that Eliyahu was delivering today.

The man sat for a moment and considered how to proceed. Less than an instant passed before he spoke, but these are the thoughts that raced through his heart in that split-second:

On one hand, this was the greatest gift a person could possibly receive, there was no greater honor, and nothing his own neshoma desired more than to learn with Eliyahu HaNavi and be initiated into the mysteries of Moshiach.

Yet his bar mitzvah deed was something that he had done in complete concealment to avoid any ego gratification so as to keep it utterly pure and for Hashem's sake alone. How could he break his silence now?

But, he would only be telling Eliyahu and not the world. Surely, Eliyahu had his best interests in mind. Surely, Eliyahu wouldn't ask such a thing if it wasn't the right response.

But, as he moved to speak his secret, his neshoma screamed, "No!" Even this would tarnish the purity of his deed. Even this would detract from the act as a pure and selfless offering to Hashem. If he now used that private moment for self-gain, even at the behest of Eliyahu HaNavi, it would betray the intimacy with Hashem created by that deed.

"No, I cannot fulfill your request," said the simple Jew. "What I did then I did only for Hashem's glory. How can I reveal it to others? If for this reason you can't tell me what you were sent to reveal, so be it; it's not necessary. I have a tradition that what a Jew does for Hashem should be hidden from the eyes of humans. It is just for Him alone."


At November 6, 2010 at 12:44:00 PM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, you didn't tell the end of this story: in reward for this deed, this holy Yid Neshama was sent back again in this world later, I've nammed the Baal Shem Tov !!

At November 7, 2010 at 1:21:00 AM EST, Blogger Dan said...

Such a powerful story! Thank you! Chodesh Tov!

At November 8, 2010 at 9:08:00 AM EST, Anonymous Bob Miller said...

In principle, would a Navi on Eliyahu's level have to ask? Maybe this question was meant only as a test.

At November 16, 2010 at 1:56:00 PM EST, Anonymous Elyahu Simply Tsfat said...

I heard from in the name of the Ishbitzer Rebbe that when Yaakov Avinu sent in the wine, which no one requested, to Yitchok Avinu he was revealing to him a new level of serving Hashem in secret (Yayin (wine)= Sod (secret)).


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