Wednesday, April 22, 2009


Joy over Adverse Circumstances

A chassidic story shared by Yaakov L that he writes he heard from Rabbi Eyal Rav-Noy...

The holy brothers Reb Zushya and his brother Reb Elimelech were traveling, as they did, bringing joy, hope and hassidus to people in Russia about 200 years ago. Unfortunately, as happened with Jews at that time, they got thrown in jail.

While in jail, Elimelech looked around the squalid jail cell and said "Dear brother, I am truly saddened to be in this jail". "Why?" asked his brother the holy Reb Zusha.

Because I want to study Torah, but there's this bucket (for the bathroom) there in the corner and we can't study next to it (anywhere in the cell).

Zushya said, "But you are fulfilling a mitzvah by honoring that commandment! So we have what to be happy about, nu?"

So they started singing a song, soon the other prisoners started singing along. They started dancing in a circle, they got a hora going. Even the Russian guards were singing and clapping. Even the prisoners in other nearby cells were dancing and singing.

Suddenly the warden walked in. "What's going on?!" he hollered.

The guards said all the singing and dancing had something to do with that bucket over there. So the warden grabbed the bucket and threw it outside.

Reb Zushya said to his brother: "Now we can learn Torah!"


  1. I've heard this before, but I think it's one of those stories which I'll never get tired of. Thanks!

  2. akiva, please change the title. it's not appropriate for such holy tzadikim described in the story. better title: joy in difficult circumstances. thanks


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