The Tzaddik of Sanz once stood at his window and called to a passerby.
“What would you do,” he asked, “if you found a purse with a large sum of money, and the name of its owner was in it?”
“What kind of question is that?” the man responded. “I would immediately return it.”
“You speak foolishly,” the Tzaddik said.
He then called in another man and repeated the question, to which this man replied, “A large sum of money? Why, I would keep it.”
“You are a scoundrel,” the Tzaddik said.
The next person to whom the question was put said, “Rabbi, how can I tell you now what I would do under those circumstances? I might say one thing now and act otherwise under temptation. Right now I can only hope that if I am put to the test, G-d will help me overcome temptation.”
“Wisely spoken,” said the Tzaddik.
It is wrong to plan to do wrong, but if we become overconfident and think that we will never do wrong, we are at a great risk. We must recognize our vulnerabilities and guard against them.
Adapted from Living Each Day by Rabbi Dr. Abraham Twerski, a wonderful collection of Jewish wisdom arranged by calendar.
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Image by Keith Cooper
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