"For us let it be enough to know ourselves to be in the place where God wants us, and carry on our work, even though it be no more than the work of an ant, infinitesimally small, and with unforeseeable results."
-- Abbé Monchanin

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

If Not Higher

I recently ran across a reference to a story by Isaac Loeb Peretz called If Not Higher.  I hope to someday find this story and read it in its entirety.

The story can be summarized something like this:

On every Day of Atonement a certain rabbi always disappears from the synagogue for a few hours.  People wonder where he is going.  One of his followers suspects that he has an appointment with God.  To satisfy his curiosity, he follows the rabbi one Day of Atonement.  He discovers the rabbi taking off his fine clothes and putting on the clothes of a poor person.  The rabbi then goes to the shack of a crippled woman and cleans her room, prepares her meals and generally serves her for a period of time.  

When the follower is satisfied that he knows the rabbi's secret, he returns to the synagogue.  The people ask him if the rabbi ascended to heaven and he replies, "If not higher."

Maybe we should strive for heaven, if not higher.

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