There is something
to be learned from everyone. Even the thief.
the maggid to Rabbi Zusya, his disciple: "I cannot teach you the
principles of service. But a little child and a thief can show you what
the child you can learn three things:
is merry for no particular reason;
Never for a moment he is idle;
When he needs something, he demands it
maggid of Mezritch said:
lock has its key which is fitted to it and opens it. But there
are strong thieves who know how to open without keys. They break
the lock. So every mystery in the world can be solved by the particular
kind of meditation fitted to it. But God loves the thief who breaks
the lock open. I mean the man who breaks his heart for God. "
"The thief can instruct you in seven things:
He does his service by night;
If he does not finish what he has set out
to do, in one night, he devotes the next night to it;
He and those who work with him love one
He risks his life for slight gains;
What he takes has no value to him, that
he gives it up for a very small coin;
He endures blows and hardship, and it matters nothing to him;
He likes his trade and would not exchange it for any other."
Doing my job as
best as I can
The rabbi of Sasov
once traveled about trying to collect money to ransom persons in the debtor's
prison, but he did not succeed in getting together the sum he needed.
Then he regretted having wasted time he might have spent studying and
praying, and resolved that henceforth he would stay home. On the same
day he heard that a Jew who had stolen an article of clothing had been
soundly beaten and put in jail. Rabbi Moshe Leib interceded with the judge
and gained the thief's release.
When the zaddik went
to fetch the thief from jail, he warned him: "Remember the beating
they gave you and don't ever do anything like that again!"
said the thief,. "If you don't succeed the first time, you may succeed
that's the case," said the rabbi to himself, "then I must keep
trying at my job, too."
Martin Buber. Tales of the Hasidim. ©1947 and 1975 by
Schocken Books (New York), p. 104. By permission of the publisher.