Thursday, April 27, 2017

A Rebbe Story: Shelo Asani Goy

A Rebbe Story:  Shelo Asani Goy!

The holy Rebbe Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev zt”l once entered his Beis Midrash in the morning and began to recite the morning blessings as he did daily.  However, the congregants noticed that when he reached the blessing praising Hashem for granting us more Mitzvos than the gentiles, the blessing SheLo Asani Goy -- for having not made me a non-Jew, he skipped it!  Everyone assembled was greatly surprised and when they questioned the Berditchever Rebbe zt”l, he explained his puzzling behavior to them.
“This morning when I woke up and prepared myself to pray before my Maker I began to consider just how lowly and despicable and wretched I am until I came to the conclusion that no one could possibly be as lowly as I.

Then my heart broke and I became so sad and depressed that I could not even lift up my head to face Hashem at all.  How could I serve Hashem out of joy in such a miserable state?

Therefore I decided to explore deep within myself and try to find even just one good point, something of value, but I could not.  Every Mitzvah or good deed that I reviewed and examined was faulty and I saw that I had not even begun to fulfill my duties before such a great and awesome G-d, the King of kings!
As I wandered in my home despondently from room to room I chanced to peer out of my window and I saw a gentile pass by on the way to the market.  It was then I realized the unique mission we Jews have and just what a wonderful portion we have been given.

My duty as a Jew and the Mitzvos with which I have been commanded are unique and when I realized this great difference, I knew that this was a cause for great Simcha, and I rejoiced and recited the blessing on the spot, ‘SheLo Asani Goy’! “And that,” explained Reb Levi Yitzchak zt”l, “Is why I did not recite it now in Shul.” (Yalkut Kedushas Levi p. 243 -- quoted in Song of Simcha).

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