Darkness enveloped the silent streets of Karlin, Russia. All the Jewish inhabitants had hurried to lock themselves inside their homes. The Russian government had decreed that no Jews be found on the streets after nightfall.

This decree was most difficult for a fiery follower (chassid) of Rabbi Aharon of Karlin to observe. On one frigid night, this man was overcome with a powerful desire to see his rebbe and to warm his soul by watching the holy man’s service of G‑d. Despite the danger, a magnetic longing drew him from his home . . .

Clutching a Tehillim (book of Psalms) in his hand, the chassid hurried through the streets of Karlin, heading to the home of his rebbe.

Suddenly a Russian policeman stood before him, blocking his path. Immediately the chassid’s hands were bound, and he was unceremoniously dumped into the town jail.

“I A pair of wild hands suddenly snatched the Tehillimwasn’t destined to see my rebbe tonight,” thought the chassid to himself, “but my precious Tehillim has remained with me.” And with that he began to recite the words of Tehillim with warmth and enthusiasm, verse by verse, chapter by chapter.

As the outpouring of prayer ascended to its heavenly place, a pair of wild hands suddenly snatched the Tehillim from him . . .

The chassid remained unruffled. “My rebbe they wouldn’t allow me to see, and my Tehillim they took from me,” he whispered to himself. “Nevertheless, I am a Jew!” A wave of joy washed over him at the thought. He rose to his feet and began to dance.

The prison guard peered at him with unbelieving eyes. But his incredulity gave way to hysterics. “Get out of here right now!” he yelled. “This small jail has no room for mentally unbalanced people!”

In happy spirits, the chassid ran at once to his rebbe. Rabbi Aharon greeted him warmly: “If one is joyous to be a Jew, a part of the Jewish nation, one can be rescued from everything!”