Jan 27, 2013

Extreme Bitachon

In continuation of two posts ago about bitachon, my favorite bitachon story is about the talmidim of the Baal Shem Tov who were sent by the Besht to a man to learn about bitachon. As they visit with him, a man comes in and pounds on the table and then leaves. Their host explains that this is the first warning from the poritz (squire) that he must pay the rent. He seemed relaxed about it, and when the man came in a second and a third time and banged on the table, he still seemed calm. The talmidim said: So you have the money? and to their surprise he said he didn't.

The talmidim watched in great curiosity as the man set off to the poritz's mansion to pay the rent, with no money in his pocket. They wondered how it would play out.

In the distance they saw a wagon approaching the host, stopping, and then travelling on, then stopping again, turning around and going back to their host. Then their host continued on to the mansion.

When he returned, the talmidim were eager to hear what had happened. So, did you pay the rent?!

Of course, he said. How did you do that if you had no money? they wondered.

He explained that the farmer in the wagon that approached him had offered to buy the produce that would eventually grow on his land. He made an offer but the amount was not enough to pay his rent, and so he DECLINED. That's why the wagon drove on.

But then the farmer changed his mind and drove back. I know you to be an honest person, and if that's what you think you should get, I'll pay you. And the farmer gave him the full amount, whereupon the man could pay his rent!

The certainty, the equanimity, that he was apparently an ordinary man, not a tzaddik.  Gevaldig!

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