A story for your Shabbat pleasure:


Reprinted from Holy Beggars’ Gazette 5737/1977 Copyright (c) 1977 by the Judaic Book Service Reprinted with permission of the Members of the House of Love and Prayer and all the Holy Beggars Not for commercial redistribution

Rabbeinu speaking

Reb Nachman tells a story of a poor woodchopper who found a diamond under a tree in the forest, he came home to his little village and asked people, “How much is this treasure worth?” “We’re not equipped to know,” the people told him. “it looks like millions of rubles. You have to go to Moscow to find out what it is worth.”

He didn’t actually own a single ruble, or even a penny, but he had the diamond. When he stopped at an inn he ate like crazy. When the innkeeper asked, “Can you pay?” he said, “I’m sorry to tell you I can’t pay, but I have this treasure here.” Even if the inkeeper didn’t know how much it was worth exactly, he knew it was millions, so he said, “We trust you. When you come back please allow us the great honor of serving you.”

So he made his way to Moscow. He came to Moscow and there they told him, “Even in Moscow we are not equipped to tell you how much your treasure is worth. You have to go to London, and in London they will tell you.”

He still didn’t have even a single penny. Who cares? He had this tremendous treasure. He went to a ship and they said, “You have to buy a ticket.” “I have no money,” he said, “but I have this treasure.”
The Captain said, “Oh, what an honor for us to have you on our ship.” He thinks, “Such a wealthy man, maybe even the wealthiest man in the world.” The Captain gave him his cabin, and the woodchopper had special treatment, special waiters and special butlers. Everybody was waiting on him, even though he was still wearing his dirty shirt, because he didn’t have any money to buy a new one. He still looks like the poorest beggar in the world. The waiter came in to serve him his food, and he put out a real fancy tablecloth. Nebech! The poor woodchopper never ate from a tablecloth in his life. He put the diamond on the tablecloth. just to look at it made him feel good. While he ate he looked at the treasure and thought, “Thank G-di This is the greatest thing in the world. ”

One day the woodchopper finished eating and fell asleep at the table. In a ship, when you want to clean the tablecloth you just shake it out the window. So, that is what the waiter did. The woodchopper realized what happened and thought to himself, “Oy! I don’t have my treasure anymore! Oy Vey, Oy Vey!”

Reb Nachman says, “Don’t give up.” The woodchopper didn’t give up. He knew one thing. “If I tell the Captain I lost my treasure, he’ll throw me right out the window too. I’m traveling here for free. In the meantime, nobody knows about it. Nobody knows I’m bankrupt, so I won’t tell.” Five minutes later the captain came in. “I’ve got to talk to you,” he said to the woodchopper. ” I want you to know that I was once a big bank robber and pirate. Now I have stopped, but before, when I was in India I found a great treasure of unbelievable jewels. I cannot bring it into England under my name, because if they see my name they will arrest me. I know that you are also rich. Would you mind bringing the treasure to England under your name?” “Okay,” says the woodchopper. He signed the treasure over to his name, and the Captain told him,

“Before we leave the ship I will give it to you. You take it with you, and at night I will come to the hotel and pick it up from you.

Our little woodchopper friend was really an honest man. When they arrived in England he took his little suitcase, went to the hotel and waited for the Captain to come. One day. Two days. The woodchopper is getting nervous. On the third day the waiter from the ship comes to tell him, “The saddest thing happened. The Captain had a heart attack and died. He had no family.” The woodchopper realized that the treasure was his to keep. He also knew it was his only because he didn’t give up. If he had said to the Captain, “I lost my treasure out the window,” the Captain would never have trusted him anymore.

Reb Nachman says, “Never give up. Basically what was meant for him was really the Captain’s treasure, not the treasure he found under the tree. G-d has His way of giving you your treasure. Hold on. Don’t tell.

Don’t give up. Sometimes it is a question of minutes. Minutes. Hold out just one more minute. Hold out!” When Reb Nachman was on his deathbed he summoned all his strength, and he yelled so loud that people blocks away could hear him. “Don’t give up! Don’t give up!” Even we here, one hundred and sixty-seven years later, can still hear him yelling, “Don’t give up! Don’t give up!

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Rabbi Yonah

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