Day Three – February 3, 2015
Interfaith Harmony Week
From the Jewish Traditions
Blessed are You, Holy One, our God
“When the great Rabbi Israel Baal Shem-Tov saw misfortune threatening the Jews, it was his custom to go into a certain part of the forest to meditate. There he would light a fire, say a special prayer, and the miracle would be accomplished and the misfortune averted. Later, when his disciple…had occasion…to intercede with heaven, he would go to the same place in the forest and say ‘Master of the Universe, listen! I do not know how to light the fire, but I am still able to say the prayer.’ Again the miracle would be accomplished.
“Still later, Rabbi Moshe-Lieb of Sasov, in order to save his people once more, would go into the forest and say: ‘I do not know how to light the fire, I do not know the prayer, but I know the place and this must be sufficient.’ It was sufficient and the miracle was accomplished.
“Then it fell to Rabbi Israel of Rizhyn to overcome misfortune. Sitting in his armchair, his head in his hands, he spoke to God: ‘ I am unable to light the fire and I do not know the prayer; I cannot even find the place in the forest. All I can do is to tell the story, and this must be sufficient.’
“And it was sufficient.”