Catch the Thief; or Don't Put Too
Much Trust in a Pious Person
TOLD BY SHLOMO ROTSHTEIN TO MORDEKHAI ZEHAVI
This is the story about Groin'm, a woman, and a priest.
Old Groin'm was dying. Full of years and troubles, he called for his son, Hayyim Yossel, and in a trembling voice, with not even enough strength to open his mouth, scarcely mumbling, he said, "Hayyim'1, my son, I'm dying. I have nothing to leave you except for one thing." He paused to breathe and rest and then continued. "I will give you some advice before I go to the world that is all good. Don't put too much trust in a pious person."
With this, he gave up his pure soul and his head moved no more. Of course, he went straight to Paradise, because he was a righteous man in his generation.*
His son, Yossel Hayyim, buried him with all the rites. After the thirty days of mourning, he returned to his business.
Yossel was very clever, so he was quite successful in his business. He became a confidant of the wealthy nobleman Kazimierz Wiśniowiecki. Yossel was always willing to flatter the nobleman, so the gentile was fond of him. What counted is that he proceeded from strength to strength** and became extremely wealthy.
But in his heart, he wondered about what his father had told him before his death. He couldn't understand what he had meant.
Much water flowed in the river Vistula. The town of Lomza prospered and, as was fitting for a very rich man, a match was arranged for him with a beautiful and pious woman, as was appropriate in those days.
Our Yossel lived in happiness and wealth and loved his wife, for there was none so beautiful and pious as she.
She was so pious that instead of one kerchief on her head she wore two
*An allusion to Genesis 6:9.
**See Psalm 84:8.