The great Rabbi Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev would routinely pay a pastoral visit to every sick person in the city of Berditchev. He would pray with them, offer his help to the family and reassure them of G‑d's essential goodness. With the love and concern he would display for the needs of every patient, his very presence would often prove the panacea that could drag someone from their very deathbed back to the land of the living.

At one house, however, all his well-practiced efforts would prove to be of no avail. Drastically ill and in extreme pain, the patient refused all attempts to lighten his spirits. Clearly suffering from some spiritual crisis or existential angst he refused to be comforted by any well-meaning bromide.

No good deeds, no merits. What will happen to me after I die?"Rabbi, I'm terrified," he finally admitted. "I have been a sinner my whole life and I feel that I have nothing to show for all the years I wasted on earth. No good deeds, no merits. What will happen to me after I die?"

Without hesitation Rabbi Levi Yitzchak reached forward and took the man's hand. "I hereby give you as an absolute gift, from now until eternity, my complete portion in the world to come. If I have any reward waiting for me in paradise, it's yours."

Shocked beyond belief, it took a while for the message of the tzaddik's gift to sink in. But finally the man sank back onto his pillows in relief and the worry over his future faded from his eyes. A few minutes later he died.

"Rabbi," one of his aides cried in frustration, "we are so used to you donating your time, sacrificing your health and being there for others, but this time even you have gone too far. Did you have to forego your future bliss for such a person? He definitely did not deserve it and didn't even live long enough to appreciate it."

The great man was unfazed. "It was worth it," he declared with finality. "It wasn't even a sacrifice. I'd gladly give away everything I have, in this world and the world to come, just to buy a few seconds of comfort for a fellow Jew."