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Diamonds

by Rabbi Shimon Posner

  

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It was a wintry Friday night in Brooklyn. A roomful of Jewish college kids in the Sixties, challenging the young rabbi chairing the roundtable; how can you believe in G-d when science has proven... why keep Kosher in an age of government inspection and refrigeration, isn't it racist to speak of the chosen people. The rabbi was doing his best.

Sitting in the audience was an elderly rabbi, long black coat, elegant white beard. He rose to speak.

"The questions you are asking are good questions, but for this you don't need to come to Chabad. Anyone who has learned Torah can tell you these answers. But you came to Chabad; now let me tell you why you came."

Everyone there was surprised he could speak English; the rabbi with the immaculate black coat and long white beard began his story.

A little boy was walking with his father down a steep hill in the heat of the day. They saw a man coming up the hill towards them, sweating, with a heavy sack on his shoulders weighing him down. When the man reached them the little boy asked what he had in his sack, why he was going up the hill, why he was working so hard.

The man told the little boy that his oven had broken and he had to come down to the valley to get more stones to build himself an oven.

Why not get more stones, asked the little boy, and build a bigger oven that will keep you warmer and you can have more food -- there must be more stones still in the valley? Oh, you little boy, said the man, you don't yet know what it means to have to work, how hard it is to schlep. He put his free hand on the little boy's shoulder. When you'll be big like me you'll be happy with a little oven too.

The little boy and his father continued down the hill.

They saw another man coming up the hill towards them. Same size man, same size sack, but this man didn't seem so weighed down.

What have you in the sack, the little boy wanted to know, is it stones, are you going to build yourself a small oven?

Oh no, the man smiled broadly, no oven building for me! See, I was down in the valley digging for turnips and I hit a treasure. Diamonds! Rubies! Pearls! I have two daughters, two weddings to make, I'm going to open a store and stop peddling from town to town, build myself a house with wooden floors and...

Why not get more diamonds, interrupted the boy, there must be more left in the valley? Son, said the old man putting his free hand on the little boy's shoulder, believe me, I searched the valley clean. I don't think there is another diamond down there.


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RELATED CATEGORIES

Mitzvot » Education
Jewish Identity

Mitzvah
(pl. Mitzvot). A commandment from G-d. Mitzvah also means a connection, for a Jew connects with G–d through fulfilling His commandments.
Torah
Torah is G–d’s teaching to man. In general terms, we refer to the Five Books of Moses as “The Torah.” But in truth, all Jewish beliefs and laws are part of the Torah.
Kosher
Literally means "fit." Commonly used to describe foods which are permitted by Jewish dietary laws, but is also used to describe religious articles (such as a Torah scroll or Sukkah) which meet the requirements of Jewish law.
Chabad
Chabad, an acronym for Wisdom, Knowledge, and Understanding, is the name of a Chassidic Group founded in the 1770s. Two of the most fundamental teachings of Chabad are the intellectual pursuit of understanding the divine and the willingness to help every Jew who has a spiritual or material need.
G-d
It is forbidden to erase or deface the name of G-d. It is therefore customary to insert a dash in middle of G-d's name, allowing us to erase or discard the paper it is written on if necessary.