Rabbi Levi Yitzchak of Berditchov was a saintly man, one of the great early figures of Chasidus.
The community of Berditchov numbered a great many Jews, yet each one considered himself like an only so of Rabbi Levi Yitzchak. Each one knew that if he ever became ill, the Rebbe would rush to his side and care for him like a loving father.
Rabbi Levi Yizchak once went to visit one of the sick members of the community. The man was on his deathbed, tossing about from side to side. He was, clearly, very worried.
“What is troubling you, my, friend at such a time?” asked the tzaddik (righteous man).
“Rebbe,” he whispered weakly, “I feel that my hours are numbered and my heart is full of fear. I am standing on the threshold of the World of Truth. I have repented my sins on my deathbed, but with what merits shall I be going to my final judgment? What will my portion be in the World-to-Come?” Tears flowed from his eyes.
Rabbi Levi Yitzchak bent over him and said, “You have no cause for worry. I am hereby giving you my entire portion in Olan Haba!” (heaven). Without hesitating, he gave over to him his most precious possession!
The man lay back, relieved. His face relaxed in a contented smile. And thus, in a spirit of trust, he returned his soul to his Maker.
Rabbi Levi Yitzchak’s deed aroused wonder among his followers. After the man died, they asked him, “Rebbe, when you entered the room, you saw that the man had only a short time to live. You could have reassured him with any comforting saying. Why were you so generous as to give him your entire portion in Olam Haba?”
The tzaddik of Berditchov replied movingly, “I would rather give away my entire reward in the World-to-Come than allow a Jew to suffer a moment of pain and worry!”
If we all aspire to this level of sensitivity to our fellow man, then this coming year will truly be a blessing.
SHANA TOVA – All of us should have a healthy, prosperous year full of success and peace.
(Taken from “A Story A Day”, published by Mesorah Publications Jerusalem)