Our synagogue was recently ransacked. Silver ornaments for the Torah scrolls were stolen in the dark of the night, and only some were retrieved by police, albeit in ruins.

It got me thinking: Pulling off a successful burglary requires a distinct set of skills (and certain questionable moral traits).

The 18th-century chassidic master Rabbi Zusha of Anipoli encountered such dubious characters during his exhaustive travels through the towns and villages of the Galicia region in Eastern Europe.

Yet, true to the chassidic rule that everything one encounters can be a lesson in the service of G‑d, he examined what he saw in a different light. He prayed that thieves transfer their proficiency to an honorable cause, and taught us to do the same.

Here are seven lessons in faith that Reb Zusha learned from a typical thief’s mode of action:

1. Be discreet.

A thief knows to stay mute about his schemes and acquisitions. Rambling about newly acquired goods (or, in today’s terms, posting them on social media) can lead to swift arrest for the thief. Metaphorically, this can provide a lesson in terms of an honorable person’s faith. Your faith is first and foremost personal, and does not have to be broadcast to others.

2. Be fearless.

A criminal will go to great lengths to achieve his goal; he sometimes places himself in high-risk and life-threatening circumstances if the prize he covets seems worthy. Though a negative trait in a sociopath, fearlessness can be beautiful in the faithful. Remaining true to your faith is never a smooth sail. It should be guarded and observed even in unpromising surroundings.

3. Be mindful of the details.

The smallest of details is of great importance to a thief. A master plan can crumble due to an overlooked detail. Likewise, faith is much more than grand gestures. Rather, it’s defined by the daily commitment of its practice and particulars.

4. Be patient.

Grand larceny can be months in the planning. Perfection comes with sweat and toil. Reaching spiritual heights isn’t an overnight activity, but a lifelong journey you should not be afraid to take.

5. Be eager and willing.

A thief approaches each job with eagerness. Each job provides him a thrill, as he gets a chance to outsmart others and outperform himself. Your faith should be practiced with cheerful willingness, and each new opportunity for learning and garnering insight should be a thrilling accomplishment.

6. Be confident and optimistic.

A saying goes that the most sincere prayer is the one the thief recites before embarking on a job. A thief truly believes he will succeed with his mission and will get away with it. Pessimism and religion can’t go together. Prayer must be approached with confidence and hope.

7. Always try again.

If his first job was a failure (and he didn’t end up in the cell), the thief goes at it again—this time with better planning and execution. If you fail the first time, try again and again. Faith demands more from you than a single try. Give it another shot and you’ll get another chance.