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Impeccable Logic

Impeccable Logic


A wealthy Jew had been a long-time financial supporter of the chassidic master Reb Zushe of Anipoli. He used to provide the rebbe’s running household expenses, and was content to receive regular blessings and advice in return. Once he showed up in Anipoli, only to find Reb Zushe’s wife home alone.

“Where is the rebbe?”

“He’s gone to visit his rebbe.”

“My rebbe has a rebbe?”

“I’ve been doing so well by receiving the blessings of Reb Zushe; imagine the jackpot that awaits me were I to transfer my support to his rebbe . . .”

The rich man was no fool. “If my rebbe has a rebbe, why am I wasting time with the disciple? I’ve been doing so well by receiving the blessings of Reb Zushe; imagine the jackpot that awaits me were I to transfer my support to his rebbe . . .”

He abandoned Reb Zushe and became a follower of Rabbi DovBer, the Maggid of Mezeritch, Reb Zushe’s rebbe.

A few months later, after a series of calamitous business failures, he was back in Anipoli, totally bankrupt.

“I accept that my business failure is punishment for deserting you,” he cried to Reb Zushe, “but why? What was wrong with my logic?”

“There was nothing wrong with your logic per se,” Reb Zushe answered, “just in the application. Till now, when you gave charity without assessing the worthiness of the recipient, G‑d responded in kind, looking after you irrespective of whether you truly deserved it. Once you started cost-benefit analyzing where you could get the best value for your money, G‑d had a good look at how deserving you are, and you apparently came up short.”

Rabbi Elisha Greenbaum is spiritual leader of Moorabbin Hebrew Congregation and co-director of L’Chaim Chabad in Moorabbin, Victoria, Australia.
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Daniel Frank North York General Hospital April 1, 2013

Be Content with your Lot Greed distorts the Sanctity of Kedusha Reply Staff via March 3, 2013

Re Like There is a like button on the top of each page :) Reply

shevy ny March 2, 2013

like i wish there was a "like" button on :) Reply

Jean-Pierre Edberg Paris, France December 30, 2009

But where is the story ? Thank you for your comment, dear Judy Rescnick ! Hammourabi's code is an accounting book.
By the way, where is the story?
Best, Reply

Judy Resnick Far Rockaway, NY December 29, 2009

Direct Quote? Reb Zushe of course didn't say "cost benefit analyzing," because he was talking 18th-century European Yiddish, not 21st- century American English. Rest assured, however, that there were merchants and accountants in those days, and that both Jewish and non-Jewish businessmen did consider each transaction as to whether it was worthwhile from a financial standpoint. I'm sure if you read old Chinese literature and even older Phoenician cuneiform and Egyptian hieroglyphics, you'll find plenty of financial references. In fact, most records discovered by archaeologists tend to be financial transactions. If Phun-Ra didn't want to be cheated later by Imhotep on that land deal, it had to all be written down by some scribe, literally in stone. Reply

Michael S. Jeffers Olivette, MO USA February 27, 2009

The Golden Rule, I think? My grandma told me that I should do to other people like I want other people to do to me. So if this rule is the golden rule and it's so golden to know it and to remember to do like it teaches, then I guess everything we put our hand to and the way we do a thing or a job of work and with what understanding we have of how to do it properly and how we treat not only others but ourselves and with what intent we do the things we do, well, I think we're going to just get more of the same kind of thing we dish out and the same kind of treatment we treat others with, but I think also, that when we realize any of the things in life and pertain them to ourselves and our own actions, with this new understanding, we can change to do things differently and be better off in what we receive & our lot in life changes too. People say that people don't change, and our personality is fully developed and set when we are very little, but these sayings are not true. We have room to grow everyday, I think. Reply

M.H. Yerushelayilm/North Miami Beach, Israel/Florida February 25, 2009

direct quote? Did Reb Zushe really say "cost benefit analyzing" or were you paraphrasing?

Nevertheless, it's a great story, and your 2009 vocabulary really brings the point home.

thanks for putting it in words that get the message across effortlessly. Even though we're supposed to toil in Torah learning, everyone deserves a treat once in a while! Reply

cecilia abuja, nigeria February 24, 2009

destiny man can not run away from what God has asigned for him/her Reply

Anonymous WA,USA February 23, 2009

Impeccable lodgic Thank You... Reply

Inge Reisinger February 23, 2009

So true your words. Reply

Yaacov (Jean-Pierre) Edberg Paris, France February 23, 2009

Logic! Great, thank you!

Very nice way of telling this excellent and very old chassidic story. Reply

Anonymous February 22, 2009

thank you Thank you for printing this story. I heard it many years ago and was unable to track it down to a source. I love the story. I find it very relelvant in today's day in age. Reply

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