November 27, 2005

The wisdom of Rabbi Zusha

והרי אנו חייבין לברך על הרעה כשם שמברכין על הטובה

V'harey anu hayavin l'varekh `al hara`a k'shem shem'varkhin `al hatova

And you see, we are required to bless [God] on the bad just as we bless [Him] on the good

Ra`av on B'rakhot 5:3

The Magid of Mezeritch was the spiritual heir of the Ba`al Shem Tov. One day someone came to him with a question: "The Talmud tells us we should bless God for the bad things that happen to us, just as we bless Him for the good. How is it possible to do such a thing?" The Magid of Mezeritch replied, "For that you must go to Reb Zusha of Anipoli."

So the man went to visit Reb Zusha of Anipoli. When he got there, he found Reb Zusha living in great poverty, his family was beset by affliction and disease. Yet, Reb Zusha greeted him cheerfully. "The Magid of Mezeritch has sent me," he said, "to learn from you how it is possible to bless God for the bad things that happen to us as, just as we bless Him for the good."

Reb Zusha thought for a while. "I am sorry," he finally replied, "I cannot answer your question - nothing bad has ever happened to me."

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More quotes:

"If it were offered to me to exchange places with Abraham, I would refuse. What would God gain from this? He'd still have one Zusha and one Abraham."

"When I appear before the heavenly court they will not ask, 'Why weren't you Moses'. They will ask, 'Why weren't you Zusha'." 

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Rabbi Zusha didn't write any books. His words were later collected from among the works of his students, and published in M'norat Zahav (מנורת זהב).

Posted by David Boxenhorn at November 27, 2005 05:29 PM | TrackBacks
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Welcome to Soccer Dad, I am your host for Haveil Havalim #47. Jewish personalities Rishon Rishon (translates to "First of all"), Rishon Rishon tells of the wisdom of Rabbi Zusha. Not Quite Perfect is the official artist of Haveil Havalim....    ... more

Trackback by: Soccer Dad (Haveil Havalim #47) at December 4, 2005 04:05 PM Permalink

Wise thought. I wonder if it's possible to find a translation of his writings in English?

Posted by: Jana at December 6, 2005 06:11 PM Permalink

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