A brutal Russian winter raged, and a chassid wished to teach his son the importance of immersion in the mikva. Father and son approached a frozen lake on the outskirts of the city. The chassid undressed his shivering son and broke a hole in the ice. “When you immerse, you will feel chilled,” the father explained gently, “but afterward I will wrap you in a warm blanket.”

The chassid dipped his child in the icy lake. As soon as the child’s body touched the freezing lake, the child shrieked, “ooooh!” Immediately the father lifted his child out of the lake and wrapped him in a warm blanket. The child emitted a sigh of contentment, “ahhh.”

“Throughout life,” the chassid explained, “think which reaction comes first – the ‘oooh’ or the ‘ahhh’? When ‘oooh’ comes first and ‘ahhh’ follows, you have done the right thing. But if the ‘ahhh’ precedes the ‘oooh,’ you have probably made the wrong decision.”

—Heard from Rabbi Yisroel Gordon

“Today everyone wants instant gratification no matter how long it takes.”

“Experience is the hardest teacher. It gives you the test first, and the lesson afterward.”