There is a story about
the Hassidic master Levi of Berdichev. He used to walk home from synagogue through
the marketplace to see first-hand the lives of his disciples. One morning a
man rushing to fulfill some apparently urgent task barreled headlong into the
master, sending him sprawling.
The master, however, was not offended; indeed, he noticed the man's alacrity
and apparent perspicacity in pursuit of his goal. So he asked him--"Where,
my friend are you running?" "Why I'm running to make a living!"
The master, not yet satisfied, queried further, "Why is it so important
to you to make a living?"
The man was somewhat taken aback--no one had ever challenged that assumption
or asked that question. He thought and he thought and then, light bulb!--"For
the children, for the children. I am working for the children." The master
nodded with a strange smile on his lips and they each continued on their respective
Some twenty-five years pass and the master is walking--a little slower perhaps--as
he always does, through the marketplace to synagogue. And again a man running
in the opposite direction bowls into him. Again the master gets up and says,
"Young man, where are you running?" The young man amazingly gives
the same response, "I'm running to make a living."
And the master asks--you know masters try and be consistent--"Why is it
so important to make a living?" No one has asked the young man such a question
before, so he stops and thinks, and then, light bulb!--"For the children,
for the children of course." The master lifts his eyes heavenward and says,
"Master of the Universe, when will I meet that one child for whom all the
generations labored so mightily?
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