Thursday, March 17, 2011

His life and a favorite story he told - by Chaya Simon (as told by Devory)

We all know about my father's greatness. That he didn't waste a second, that he loved the aibershter and all his world. That he loved his family. So many incredible characteristics in one person. Anybody that knows him has something to say, be it that he was never without a seferlbook in his hand, or his extreme generosity with his time and his finances, his kindness to others in a way that was dignified, his respect for all people. the list is endless. Yet, when you asked me for a story, I couldn't think of one. Perhaps for those of us that are so close to Zaidy, his life is just that. A life. A person who cares about us ... and also others. And I just don't know how to make a story out of that. And in a way, I don't really want to either. So I decided to write a story that Zaidy often told. It was one of his favorites. A story about a vicar. In an old town in Europe there once lived an honest man, but uneducated man. He found work in the town Church as the Vicar. For years he did his job. Working hard with devotion to a job that required minimal thinking but plenty of effort. After many years the priest that had been working for resigned and a new, younger man took his place. This new priest was full of energy and had all sorts of ideas of how to restore the former glory to the old Church. He wanted to revamp it and improve it's image so that the residents of the town could be proud of their house of Worship. When it was discovered that the old vicar was illiterate, he called the old vicar into his office and told him that although he had worked there for many years and was a loyal employee of the church, he was afraid that it would not do to have an illiterate man held in the employ of the Church, it would be bad for the image. And, so, he had to let him go. The vicar was shattered. He had never worked anywhere else and had no experience or training to speak of. How would he support his family without the job that he had held for so many years. He decided to stop in at a tobacco shop on his way home to think about his predicament. He left the church and began to look for a place to smoke. He walked the around the block and was surprised not to find one. He continued his walk around the neighboring block and there too did not see a tobacco shop. He searched and searched and found not a single tobacco shop in the neighborhood! He was shocked. It occurred to him that he surely is not the only one who would benefit from a tobacco shop in the area, perhaps he should open one. And so, the Vicar managed to get the funds necessary to open a tobacco shop. It didn't take long for it to be a huge success, and the vicar soon opened another tobacco shop a few blocks over. Before long the old vicar was the owner of a string of very successful tobacco shops. He became one of the wealthiest and influential men in his town. During a business transaction one day, he was requested to sign his name on some papers. He replied that he could not. When asked why he said that he was unable to read or write. In shock, his colleague said, "imagine what you would be if you were educated" to which he replied "a vicar." Perhaps the lesson here is that life is not always predictable. We never really know how things will turn out. When one door closes, another one opens up. It's the greatness of the Aibershter, the brilliance of his plan. The aibershter created people without the knowledge of his "plan." But still, we must have bitachon and know that we are children that are beloved and cared for.

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