#550 (s5768-40 / 8 Sivan 5768)
Two Pieces of Advice
Two merchants, with two diferent approaches, asked Rabbi Araham Mordchai of Sadigora for his opinion about investing in wheat futures.
Pieces of Advice
Two merchants came to Rabbi Avraham Yaakov, the Sadigura Rebbe, to ask his advice and his blessing for their advantageous outcome at the Wheat Fair being held in their country. Each entered the Rebbe's room separately and asked his question in his own way. The first asked simply whether it was worth his while to invest in the wheat business or not.
"Do not engage in any wheat business at present," the Rebbe answered.
The second man did not satisfy himself with a simple query, but went into the details of the proposed investment and its probable success.
"If things are as you say," answered the Rebbe, "be blessed and successful!"
Each of the merchants acted according to the Rebbe's advice. The first refrained from engaging in the wheat trade, while the second invested his money in the purchase of wheat. His business did not prosper, however, and his investment was lost.
Later, when this second individual had occasion to see the Rebbe again, he poured out his bitterness over the great financial loss he had suffered. "Why didn't the Rebbe advise me to keep out of the wheat business, as was the case with my friend?"
"Let us understand things as they happened," the Sadigora replied. "Your friend came to me with a question. He himself did not know what was best for him, and he trusted my advice as the whether to do business or not. Because he was waiting for my answer, I responded in the way that G-d told me to answer, with the first notion that entered my head. The man did as I suggested, and, in the merit of his faith, was saved from financial disaster.
"You, on the other hand," continued the Rebbe, "tried to explain to me how the business works and what tremendous profits you anticipated from it. Not being a wheat merchant myself, I weighted the information you had given me and was forced to advise you in accordance with that information.
"After all, if I were to advise you in contradiction to my logical understanding of what you had told me, I would be categorizing myself as a tzadik, whose first instinct derives from Divine Inspiration -- and how is a person allowed to see himself as a holy man?
"It is only when a person believes with complete faith in a tzadik and is convinced that his ideas are indeed divinely inspired, that G-d helps him in the merit of his faith, and gives the tzadik the correct answer even if he knows nothing about the world of business."
[Adapted by Yrachmiel Tilles from "Stories My Grandfather Told Me" (Mesorah) by Zev Greenwald]
Yerachmiel Tilles is co-founder and associate director of Ascent-of-Safed, and editor of Ascent Quarterly and the AscentOfSafed.com and KabbalaOnline.org websites. He has hundreds of published stories to his credit, and many have been translated into other languages.
A 48 page soft-covered booklet containing eleven of his most popular stories may be ordered on our store site.
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