Weekly Chasidic Story #822 (s5773-50 / 20 Elul 5773)
Give Credit Where Credit’s Not Due
His wife approached him and requested that he repay the loan, but he refused with much chutzpa.
Connection: Seasonal — Rosh Hashana is fast approaching!
There was a wealthy man in the town of Kovno named Shraga-Feivel Frank. A prominent businessman from Aleksot once approached him for a substantial loan, naming a date by which he expected to repay it. R’ Shraga Feivel cheerfully lent him the money.
After some time passed, the loan was due, but the man did not come to repay it; R’ Shraga Feivel said nothing about it, as was his wont in such cases. However, at one point he himself needed a certain sum of money, and his wife Golda recalled that this businessman owed them a large debt. She approached him and requested that he repay the loan, which she was certain he was then able to do, telling him that they needed the money.
The man refused her request, answering with such impertinence that the insulted woman returned home very upset. With much effort her husband calmed her down, but the incident was far from over.
Some time later the businessman appeared at the Frank home, but not with the money he owed. Instead, he told R’ Shraga Feivel that he wished to borrow more money, which he promised to pay back together with the first sum by a certain date. Taken aback by this brazen request, R’ Shraga Feivel told the man he would have to consider the matter before replying, and would inform him later of his decision.
When, Mrs. Frank heard of the man’s temerity, she asked her husband incredulously, “How can you even consider such a thing after he was so unreliable the first time, and behaved with such ingratitude and impudence! I am sure you’ll never see this money either.”
“My dear wife,” replied R’ Shraga Feivel, “are we then any better than this man? Every year on Rosh Hashana we ask G-d to forgive our sins and accept our prayers. We always say earnestly, ‘G-d, this year we’ll be good!’ But we backslide and sin again the next year. Then how can we come to ask Him once again to forgive us? What happened this past year – didn’t we come to Him last year with the same request and the same promise?
“But now I can really say it! This Jew borrowed money and also promised to pay it back, but instead of repaying me he asked to borrow more – and I will give it to him! I will now have some merit in the eyes of G-d, that He should do the same for me, measure for measure, just as I have done for this man.”
In the face of such logic, Golda could only bow her head in agreement to extend the loan.
Source: Adapted by Yerachmiel Tilles from “Gut Voch” (Mesorah) by Avrohom Barash.
Connection: Seasonal – Rosh Hashana is fast approaching!
Yerachmiel Tilles is co-founder and associate director of Ascent-of-Safed, and chief editor of this website (and of KabbalaOnline.org). He has hundreds of published stories to his credit, and many have been translated into other languages. He tells them live at Ascent nearly every Saturday night