Wednesday, October 12, 2005
There's a story from Reb Levi Yitzchok Berditchover:
There was a chossid - let's call him Beryl. Beryl was asked to make a fancy coat for a rich gentile. The gentile gave him 100 pelts to make the garment. Beryl made the coat as specified, and 2 pelts were left over. As was custom at the time, Beryl kept them as personal profit. When the coat was presented to the gentile, he became infuriated. "THERE'S 2 PELTS MISSING!" he shouted, and proceeded to beat poor Beryl up.
On his sore walk home, Beryl said to Hashem; "Look, there's only 2 people who knew I kept those pelts - You, and me. Somebody must have told the gentile that I kept them, and I know it wasn't me. I don't want to have anything to do with You anymore."
It was erev pesach, and Beryl did not help his fellow chassidim make matzo. He did not do anything to prepare his home for the festival. Time went by, and still he did nothing towards his Yiddishkeit. As far as he was concerned, he and G-d were through.
Until Yom Kippur rolled around. Erev Yom Kippur, Beryl poured 2 l'chaims. One for him, and one for G-d. "Look Hashem," he said. "I forgive you for telling the gentile that I took the pelts. Now You forgive me for ignoring You all this time." With that, he drank his shot and drank G-d's, too. Then, he poured another round. On and on this went, until he finished the bottle of vodka. Then he went to shul.
Kol Nidre approached, and Reb Levi Yitzchok just stood there. His chassidim realized he was waiting for something. Finally, the Rebbe said, "Nu, you behind the door there. Come out." A sheepish and shikkur Beryl emerged. The Rebbe announced; "Come up here, Beryl'eh, and tell us what you did today." So Beryl went up on the bima, and recounted his farbrengen with G-d. The Rebbe smiled. "Do you hear that, G-d? Beryl forgives you. We all forgive You for making our lives so hard, for keeping us in golus for so long. Now You forgive us for any sins we might have committed."