Learning the Rules
One Chanuka night, Rabbi Yisrael, the holy Ruzhiner
Rebbe, entered the beit midrash Study Hall and saw his chasidim playing
checkers. Sensing their rebbe's presence, they became very embarrassed.
The Rebbe told them, "Learn and remember the rules of the game,
for they are rules for life:
- "You give one piece in order to make two.
- Two men cannot move at the same time.
- You must move forward and never, ever move backward.
- You are not allowed to indulge regrets.
- When you reach the highest level, then you are able to go in any direction
you want, right or left, up or down.
- Each step should be carefully thought out -- Sof ma'aseh b'machshava
- Not everyone wins.
- And the most important rule of all: The best defense is a good offense,
as our Sages have said: 'A man should always arouse his yetzer tov
(good inclination) against his yetzer hara (evil inclination)."
[Adapted by Yerachmiel Tilles from "Stories My
Grandfather Told Me" by Zev Greenwald, and from "The
House of Rizhin" by Rabbi Menachem Brayer (both published by