The Rabbi of Apt

Stories and Allegories


THE RABBI OF APT


  Once the Rabbi of Apt came to a city in which two men competed for the privilege of giving him lodgings. Both houses were equally roomy and comfortable and in both households all the rules were observed with pious exactitude. But one of the men was in ill repute for his many love affairs and other sinful doings, and he knew quite well that he was weak and thought little of himself. The other man, however, no one in the whole community could accuse of the slightest breach of conduct. With proud and, stately steps he walked abroad, thoroughly aware of his spotless purity.

  The rabbi selected the house of the man with a bad reputation. When he was asked for the reason for his choice, he answered, "Concerning the proud, God says, 'I and he cannot live together in this world.' And if God himself, blessed be he, cannot share a room with the proud, then how could I? We read in the Torah, on the other hand, '. . . who dwelleth with them in the midst of their uncleannesses'. And if God takes lodgings there, why shouldn't I?"

A Hasidic Tale

VISWARUPADARSANAM

Nor penance, nor gift-giving, nor-with prayer
Shall any so behold, as thou has seen!
Only by fullest service, perfect faith,
And uttermost surrender am I known
And seen, and entered into.

Shri Krishna