The Rabbi Who Was Tricked
TOLD BY DVORA FUS
In a small town, there lived a rabbi with his wife and children. The rabbi was a great scholar and a quiet man. The townsfolk were very fond of him. No rich men lived in the town, so the rabbi barely made a living. But he was content with his lot. He was satisfied with everything. He did not want to be a burden on the people of the town. Time passed.
Early one morning, some well-dressed men arrived in town and asked for the rabbi. When they reached his house, they greeted him and introduced themselves. They said that they came from a big city and were looking for a rabbi. They would pay him a good salary if he agreed to come with them.
The idea made the rabbi very unhappy. Because he was so content in his town he refused at once. But they coaxed him, reminding him that he had a daughter who would soon be of marriageable age and that he would never find a match for her in that small town. They pressed the rabbi until he agreed, on condition that if he didn't like the new post he could return at any time. While they were negotiating with the rabbi, they gave his wife a large sum of money so there would be plenty of good things in the house. Of course, everyone has a weakness for temptation, and a person can be easily persuaded by good things. The rabbi, too, was won over and agreed to go with them.
When it was time to leave, he called together the elders of the synagogue and the town fathers and explained the situation to them. He bade farewell to the townsfolk, with tears in his eyes, of course. "Rabbi," they begged him, "if you're not happy there, we'll take you back with open arms." The rabbi promised that, of course, he would see how he liked it.
In the rabbi's house, everyone was happy. His wife was being left a large sum of money for use while the rabbi would not be with the family to support them and until he could bring them to the city where he was going to assume the rabbinate. The rabbi told his family good-bye and set out with the men.