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The Witnessing Tree

by Rabbi Yerachmiel Tilles


Library » Holidays » Tu B'shvat | Subscribe | What is RSS?


The wheel of fortune had taken a downward turn for a once-wealthy Jew who lived in the Moroccan city of Rabat. He was forced to leave home and wander from town to town in search of an appropriate business opportunity that would enable him to support the large extended family that had come to depend on him. His faith in the One that provides all was strong, but still, the forging of a receptacle for the Al-mighty's blessing was proving to be difficult.

Finally, after several failed attempts, he succeeded in amassing a significant amount of money. He was finally able to return home.

On the way, he passed through the town of Sali, which is not far from Rabat. As it was already fairly late on Friday, he figured he had better remain in Sali for Shabbat. A good friend from his youth whom he had not seen in many years lived there, and he knew he would find a warm welcome at his house.

After several failed attempts, he succeeded in amassing a significant amount of money. He was finally able to return home
Indeed, as soon as his friend saw him, he insisted that his surprise guest remain for Shabbat. The weary traveler accepted the invitation happily. Before candle lighting, he gave his money pouch to his host for safekeeping, so that he wouldn't have to worry about it during the Day of Rest.

By Saturday night, the traveler was anxious to reach home. Immediately after Havdalah, he requested his money pouch back from his friend.

"What are you talking about?" denied his host. "You never left any money with me."

The stunned guest could not believe his ears. He almost fainted. When he recovered his senses, he begged his (former) friend to return to him the money he had labored so long and hard for, and that it was critical for his family's survival.

The host blew up. "You have some nerve!" he yelled. "Aren't you embarrassed? You slept in my house, you ate at my table, and now you dare hurl at me these false accusations!" 

Seeing the "righteous" indignation on his host's face, the man realized there was no chance that this conniver would admit what he had done and give back the money willingly. He decided he had better go right away to make a claim at  Beit  Din (rabbinical court).


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(pl: Shabbatot). Hebrew word meaning "rest." It is a Biblical commandment to sanctify and rest on Saturday, the seventh day of the week. This commemorates the fact that after creating the world in six days, G-d rested on the seventh.
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.
Prayer signifying the end of the Sabbath or Jewish holiday. This "separation" prayer is recited after nightfall over a cup of wine.
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.