Leah’s Blog September 21, 2015
A story that Reb Shlomo Carlebach once told gave me more mussar than any shiur I had ever been to. I want to share it with you now before Yom HaDin and bless all of our friends with a Chatimah Tova- May you be sealed into the book of Life for a wonderful year of asiyah leshaym shamayim! It should be a great year of wonderful things with besorot tovot and blessing.
There was once a tailor that lived a pretty regular life, ordinarily Jewish tailors in Poland in the late 1800’s weren’t fancy people. He was extremely talented though and somehow a Polish nobleman took the good tailor under his wing. He was given luxurious quarters and mixed with upper echelon having an upgrading most people would be envious of.. Sadly the tailor began to leave the customs of his parents and grand- parents as he stopped going to shule, eating kosher, and keeping mitzvoth. His good fortune caused him to move away into another lifestyle. Slowly slowly, fixing pants for the nobleman went to his head. One day the nobleman went to Paris to bring new fantastic fabrics for making new garments. “Tailor, I bought the most expensive fabulous material- you have to make me the best suit you ever made in your life!”
The tailor worked with the utmost style and graces of his hands and cut sewed basted, the whole time priding himself on how he got to this place in his life, the wonder and sheer pleasure of it! And being able to use such exquisite material! But when his patron put on the new suit he threw it back at the tailor and said ” You dirty Jew! I am going to kill you for ruining my cloth.” He kicked the tailor so hard in his behind out the door and threatened that he if he didn’t bring back a new and perfected suit as soon as possible, he and the whole shtetlyl would surely perish. And he meant it.
Shaking, the tailor didn’t know what to do! He picked up the suit from where his master threw it and ran straight to the Rabbi. ” Rabbi! You have to help me! I have been working for this nobleman, by the way- that’s why you haven’t seen me around- I’ve been very busy! I made the best suit for him and now he wants to kill me!’ The Rabbi rubbed his beard in deep thought looking closely at the suit and was quiet for a long moment looking at the tailor. He then said, “Go home. Cut the suit open on the seams you made and sew the whole thing up with new thread on the same seams. When you go back, I am sure he will be very pleased!” The tailor couldn’t believe his ears. “What do you mean? Then I’m not changing the suit in any way! He’ll kill me!” He shook and cried like a baby.
He did however do what the Rabbi said. He cut open the seams, pulled out the old threads and sewed the pieces back together crying and shaking the whole time. He brought everything back to the nobleman’s house barely able to stand and with his head down, he handed the “new” suit to him. Reluctantly the nobleman put it on and buttoned it up. “Magnificent! What a terrific suit! You really outdid yourself this time!’ and paid him twice as much as he normally would for this labor of love.
The tailor ran like the wind straight to the Rabbi to thank him for saving his life. He begged the Rabbi, “Rabbi! What did I do wrong the first time!”. The holy Rabbi turned to him with a warm smile and said, “Let me tell you something. First of all- we miss you! I hope to see you around more.When you went to work for this man your pride went to your head. You forgot who you are, where you belong and Who gave you this good fortune, Hashem! Arrogance has a terrible smell. Your nobleman couldn’t hack such a retched odor and he had to get out of those clothes fast. When you went back to make the suit the second time,as you worked, you assessed your life as you cried over every stitch. It wasn’t your pride but your tears that made this garment so pleasing to Him.
End of story
Teshuva Tefilla and Tzadakah are the three words on call for this time. It is a time we should be shaking and crying, not in sadness but in realizing what a speck we really are in the scope of things. Today’s culture says we have to prove who we are, and how great we are at what we do. We should be proud of doing good things- if we’re doing them totally for Him. Having a day every year to review, to reassess and then come to a decision on how we need to be in the G-dly realm of our actions is something our whole year rests upon. Baruch Hashem for this day! May this Yom kippur be a kapara for us a time to rid our psyche of false ideas which lead to impulse and doing the wrong thing. May we have a fruitful davening and ask Hashem to fix things and make them pure again. May we always be able to look past our own needs into the needs of others, in realizing our own insignificance and know that and recognize that only Hashem alone grants wealth. Assist others as you want Hashem to assist you!
Shana tova Umetukah! Chatimah tova to all of our dear friends and supporters