• According to a Sufi legend, after God created Adam, He commanded the angel Gabriel to allow Adam to choose one of the three most precious pearls in the treasury of heaven. Gabriel therefore showed Adam the pearl of wisdom, the pearl of faith, and the pearl of modesty. Adam chose the pearl of wisdom, but when Gabriel attempted to lift the other two pearls to return them to the divine treasury, he was not able to. The pearl of faith and the pearl of modesty then said to Gabriel, “We will not separate from our beloved wisdom. We could not be happy and quiet away from it. From all eternity, we three have been the three compeers of God’s glory, the pearls of His power. We cannot be separated.” Even today, wisdom is found in the company of faith and modesty.
• Pope John XXIII once met a boy who had been born a Jew but who had converted and been baptized into the Catholic faith. The Pope urged the boy to continue to support the Jewish community, saying, “By becoming a Catholic, you do not become less a Jew.” At the Vatican Council, Pope John XXIII said, “We do not intend to conduct a trial of the past. We do not want to prove who was right and who was wrong. All we want to say is, Let us come together. Let us make an end to our divisions.”
• The caliph Omar once met a group of people who were loafing around and doing nothing. When they answered that they were people who trusted to God for everything and put their affairs in His hands, Omar grew angry and said, “You are nothing but parasites upon other people’s work. The person who truly trusts God first plants seeds in the earth, then puts his affairs in God’s hands.”
• Chaplains are employed by the Armed Forces. In this case, we have the government paying the salaries of priests, rabbis, and preachers, but such an expense has been judged necessary by the government. The Bill of Rights grants everyone, including soldiers, the right to the free exercise of their religious beliefs, and chaplains are necessary for that to occur.
• The town’s leading citizens met at a dinner celebrating the 75th anniversary of a business. The mayor praised the business, pointing out that 75 years is a long time and an important anniversary, then he asked if anyone in the audience represented a firm that had been in business longer than that. A preacher stood up and said, “I have that honor.”
• Sydney Smith, a clergyman and a wit, was once accosted by a county squire who angrily told him, “If I had a son who was an idiot, by Jove I’d make him a clergyman.” Sydney calmly replied, “Very probably, but I see that your father was of a different mind.”
• As a boy, actor Rod Steiger was a Gentile surrounded by Jews. This came in handy, as he readily found work in the neighborhood — lighting stoves for Jewish families on the Sabbath. The neighborhood women referred to him as a Shabbos goy.
• Before Yom Kippur, Rabbi Israel Salanter was walking on a public street when he met a crying man. Rabbi Salanter spoke to him and discovered that the man was terrified of the judgment that would be made against him on Yom Kippur; Rabbi Salanter also noticed that the man’s public display of grief and terror was upsetting other people in the street. Therefore, Rabbi Salanter advised the man, “Your heart is a private place, and so you may cry there as much as you want. However, the street is a public place. Remember that you do not have a right to burden other people with your personal problems.”
• While in prison, a Jew was told that he could choose one day of all the days in the year to perform the mitvos[commandment, worthy deed]. The Jew thought hard. Which day would be best to perform the mitvos? Would Yom Kippur be best? Finally, the Jew made his decision; he would perform the mitvos the very first day he could because when it comes to performing the mitvos, no one should procrastinate.
Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved
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