Monday, June 16, 2008

Dvar Torah for Anytime

(Illustration by Issachar Ber Ryback)

Received via e-mail from Rabbi Ozer Bergman:

This used to be popular, i.e., more well-known and widely circulated, in the early days of what later became known as "the baal teshuvah" movement. I haven't seen or heard it in a long while, so when I saw it last motzei Shabbos (Saturday night), I decided to send it out and post it.

The author of Shmuot Tovot reports that the following was said by "the great luminary," Reb Dov Ber, the Maggid of Mezritch, of blessed memory, to the holy master, Reb Meshulam Zushia [aka the Rebbe, Reb Zushia] of Anipoli, when the latter drew himself close to the path of Reb Dov Ber.

In the service of the Creator, you should teach yourself three things from a child:

[1] Always be happy;

[2] don't be idle;

[3] cry for what you want.

And seven things from a thief:

[1] He works at night;

[2] if he doesn't get what he wants the first night, he works for it a second night;

[3] they all love each other;

[4] he'll work hard for something small;

[5] even though he worked hard to get it, it's not worth a lot to him -- he'll sell a $5 item for pennies;

[6] even if he gets pummeled and tortured, he remains firm in his conviction;

[7] he loves his craft and wouldn't trade it or exchange it for anything.

The Shmuot Tovot concludes: Dear reader -- reflect and consider the profundity of these words and the advice for serving God they contain.


At June 17, 2008 at 1:23:00 PM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Reading this has made me think and reflect. I understand the first part but the 7 things from a Thief is not clear to me. Are these things good or bad? Can someone please enlighten me on this?

At June 18, 2008 at 5:53:00 AM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...


As practiced by a thief, they are bad. But in service of Hashem they are good. For example, the thief works at night, clandestinely, in order not to get caught. In service of Hashem, one works at night, anonymously, so that he be less inclined to put on airs.

And he works a second night because the "loot" is so valuable he's willing to gothe extra mile to get it.

Hope this helps.

Ozer Bergman


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