Folktales of the Jews - Vol. 2

By Dan Ben-Amos | Go to book overview

61
What Kind of Rabbi We've
Got in this Town!

TOLD BY SHIMON ḤALAMISH TO NILI ARYEH-SAPIR

Once there were two friends who were like blood brothers while growing up. They studied together with the same elementary-school teacher and afterward were together in the school with other fine young men, until they got married and their paths diverged: Shlomo married a local girl, while his friend Yitzhak, whom they called "Itzik," married a woman from another town. As a result, they were separated, perhaps forever.

Some fifteen years after they had parted company, Shlomo received an invitation from his friend Itzik, who wrote as follows: Because he was arranging a party to celebrate a happy occasion, and especially so they could get together and remember the past, the youth they had spent together, and all their shared experiences—and, especially, his friend Itzik wrote, because with God's help he was doing very well financially and had even become wealthy, he would pay all of Shlomo's travel expenses and any losses he might incur by being absent from his own business—he would be happy to cover everything. The main thing was that he come and have no worries.

After an exchange of letters, they greeted him and his wife with extraordinary cordiality and they celebrated together. The next day, Shlomo wanted to go home, but Itzik would not hear of it. He asked him to stay for at least another week, claiming that they had not had enough time to talk and be together. Being together was a priceless experience for him. He urged Shlomo to draw up a reckoning and calculate how much he was losing. He would cover it all, and then some, because they had come to visit and given great cheer to him and his family.

Shlomo wanted to go back home because his business needed him, but Itzik urged him to stay a few more days. He repeated that Shlomo need not worry about his business—he would reimburse him because the good Lord had blessed him with wealth and it was worth it to him for them to be

-434-

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