be Rabbi Abba

Friday, 8 September, 2023 - 10:01 am

I won’t write much on this Erev Rosh Hashana – just a story from the Zohar, Parashat Miketz (page 201b):

Rabbi Abba sat at the gates of the city of Lydda. He saw a person who had fallen asleep on a dirt hill. Suddenly, he saw a poisonous snake approaching the man, but just as the snake reached him, a piece of wood broke off from a tree-root and killed the snake. When the stranger woke up and rose from his place, the hill he had been sleeping on broke apart and a big chasm formed underneath – but nothing happened to him, because he had risen already and left the hill. So he was saved once again.

Rabbi Abba approached him and said, “Tell me what you do, for the Holy One, blessed be He, just made two miracles for you. Such miracles don’t come for no reason.”

The man answered: “All my life there was no one who harmed me whom I didn’t allow to make peace with me, with my forgiving him. This is what I will do to anyone who causes me pain, and I don’t pay attention to all the bad things that people do to me; moreover, from the day they harm me onward I try to do good to them.” In other words, I forgave anyone who ever harmed me, made peace with him and even tried to repay bad with good.

Rabbi Abba wept and said, “The actions of this person are greater than those of Yosef Hatzaddik – for Yosef paid back good for bad, but they were his brothers, and it was proper that he have mercy on them, but what this person does is more than what Yosef did. He is worthy of Hashem performing miracle upon miracle for him.” 

My brethren and friends, I have nothing to add.

Please accept my heartfelt wishes for Ktiva V’chatima Tova, a good sweet year, or, perhaps in two words: Mashiach now!

Rabbi Zalmen Wishedski

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