David Bruce: 250 Anecdotes About Religion, Volume 2 — God, Good Deeds


• A woman dreamed that she walked into a new store and found God behind the counter. She asked, “What do you sell here?” God replied, “Everything your heart desires.” The woman replied, “That’s wonderful. I want peace of mind and love and wisdom and happiness and freedom from fear. Not just for me. For everyone.” God smiled and then said, “I think you have Me wrong. We don’t sell fruits here. Only seeds.”

• Some friends of Mark Twain wrote him a humorous letter for his birthday, but then discovered that they did not have his address, because he was so often globe-trotting. So the friends addressed the letter: “MARK TWAIN. LORD KNOWS WHERE.” A few months later, one of the friends in the group received a note from Mr. Twain: “HE DID.”

• In 1976, the Missionaries of Charity opened a home in a very poor section outside of Mexico City. The Sisters were surprised by the requests of the poor people they were there to serve. Despite their poverty, these impoverished people did not ask for food, medicine, or clothing. Instead, they said, “Sisters, talk to us about God.”

Good Deeds

• Rabbi Israel Salanter went to the synagogue to observe the Yahrzeit (one-year death anniversary) of his father and to recite the mourner’s Kaddish. Also at the synagogue was a man present to observe the Yahrzeit of his daughter. Because Rabbi Israel was mourning the death of his father, he was given precedence in reciting Kaddish, but he saw how sad was the man who had suffered the loss of his daughter. At the time when the mourner’s Kaddish was to be recited, Rabbi Israel allowed the other man to recite it, thus giving up his right of precedence. Was Rabbi Israel showing disrespect for the soul of his own father? No. Rabbi Israel said later, “I have indeed caused my father’s soul to perform a Gemiluth Hessed — a deed of kindness — towards the soul of that poor childless woman (this man’s departed child, his daughter). A deed of this nature carries through it more for the repose of the departed soul of my father than a Kaddish.”

• Enrico Caruso could be very generous. One day, he visited the Metropolitan Opera to try on some new wigs for his costumes. While he was there, a man brought Mr. Caruso some of his non-Metropolitan Opera earnings, placing several notes for $500 each on a counter. The man in charge of the wigs was very impressed, saying, “Such a lot of them! Why, if I had only one, I could take my wife home to Europe for all summer, to see our folks!” The man in charge of the wigs went about his duties, then left. He was surprised later to find $500 in one of his pockets, and he rushed back to Mr. Caruso to apologize and to say that he had no idea how the money had gotten into his pocket. Mr. Caruso explained, “I put it in while you were so busy with the wig. You said you could take the missus to Europe if you had one of those bills. So now you have it and you shall go!”

• Is it ever a good thing to pretend that God may not exist? Yes. Rabbi Moshe Leib of Sasov worried about people who saw someone in distress, then said a prayer for the distressed person and walked away, leaving it to God to take care of the distressed person. Therefore, whenever the good rabbi saw someone in distress, he would help that person, pretending that God did not exist and that only human beings could help that person. For himself, however, he had faith that God would help him. (The good rabbi was well aware that having faith in God does not mean that we have no obligation to help distressed people.)

• One of the things you learn from a liberal arts education is that people are capable of great evil and they are also capable of great good. In telling which people will do what, you can’t apply criteria of sex, race, religion, nationality, or cultural origin. Instead, as Viktor Frankl points out in Man’s Search for Meaning, only two “races” of men exist: the race of decent men, and the race of indecent men (the term “men” here includes both sexes). Even among the World War II concentration camp guards, a few were capable of at least small kindnesses.


Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved


250 Anecdotes About Religion, Volume 2 — Buy

250 Anecdotes About Religion, Volume 2 — Buy the Paperback

250 Anecdotes About Religion, Volume 2 — Kindle

250 Anecdotes About Religion, Volume 2 — Apple

250 Anecdotes About Religion, Volume 2 — Barnes and Noble

250 Anecdotes About Religion, Volume 2 — Kobo

250 Anecdotes About Religion, Volume 2 — Smashwords: Many Formats, Including PDF

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: