The Rabbi's Gift
A Jewish Version
Once a synagogue had fallen on hard times. Only five members were left: all over 60 years old. In the mountains near the shul there lived a retired rabbi. It occurred to the five to ask the rabbi if he could offer any advice that might save the shul. One of the members and the rabbi spoke at length but when asked for advice, the rabbi simply responded by saying, "I have no advice to give. The only thing I can tell you is, the messiah is one of you." This member, returning to the shul, told the four members what the rabbi had said.
In the months that followed, the old shul members pondered the words of the rabbi. "The Messiah is one of us?" they each asked themselves. As they thought about this possibility, they all began to treat each other with extraordinary respect on the off-chance that, one among them might be the Messiah ... and on the off-chance that each member himself might be the Messiah, they also began to treat themselves with extraordinary care. As time went by, people visiting the shul noticed the aura of respect and gentle kindness that surrounded the five old members of the small shul. Hardly knowing why, more people began to come back to worship at the old synagogue. They began to bring their friends, and their friends brought more friends.
Within a few years, the small shul had once again become a thriving congregation, thanks to the rabbi's gift!
Tisha B'Av is a time that we might feel that we 'want answers'. In truth, we are not put in this world to demand answers. We are here to improve ourselves and ultimately, the world. And we are here to understand when to turn to our own lives for answers, instead of to the Almighty with questions, so that we may survive the tragedies with both faith and life intact.