The Despair-Busting Challenge: Week 3

The Despair-Busting Challenge: Week 3

Yep, things are continuing to be quite crazy here in Nachlaot. This quotation from Rav Arush about Divine punishment of evil people really hit the spot this week:

Maybe you’re wondering how there are dishonest, cruel, and tyrannical people who are also fabulously wealthy. Don’t be impressed: An old Hebrew expression says “sof ganav letliya,” in other words, the end of a thief is at the end of a rope. Notice how all the thieves and tyrants never go peacefully to the grave, so don’t be jealous of them when things seems to be going in their favor for the time being.

In the White Russian town of Radin, during the time of the Chafetz Chaim, there lived an extremely wealthy property owner. A widow rented one of the shanties he owned on the outskirts of the town and eked out a meager living by selling whiskey to travelers and local peasants. During a bitter winter, few passed by the widow’s shack. She barely had money for a bit of bread and couldn’t pay the rent. The landlord refused to listen to the widow’s pleas for mercy and evicted her, throwing her and her possessions out in the snow.

The entire town was up in arms. What injustice! The landlord was the richest man in town; the loss of a few rubles rent made no difference to him. The townspeople protested to the Chofetz Chaim. After arranging a place for the women to stay, the Chofetz Chaim told the townspeople to refrain from doing anything to the rich man. Cruel or not, he had the right to do as he pleased with his own property. “But,” said the Chofetz Chaim, “There is a Judge of Truth, blessed be His Name. He shall judge…”

22 years later, a rabid dog roamed into town. It crouched in front of the rich man’s mansion. As soon as he walked out the front door, the dog pounced on him and bit him deeply in the leg. The rich man fell sick with rabies and died an excruciating, terrible death.

Apparent abundance of any kind that’s obtained by way of transgressing the Torah will not only be short-lived, but it won’t carry a blessing. Money earned in a forbidden manner or by causing pain to others will be spent on repairs, doctors’ bills, and lawsuits, just to name a few of the nemeses that the cruel and dishonest will deal with at some point. Don’t be impressed at all by their fictitious and temporary gains.

Reprinted from the Garden of Gratitude by Rabbi Shalom Arush (translated by Rabbi Lazer Brody) page 342. For more information call 972-52-224-0696

Image courtesy of user Alan Cleaver


  1. Wow… I actually read this story in the Chafetz Chaim’s own hand, and have it around here somewhere. All I can say is that this is a serious dramatization of events. The Chafetz Chaim writes that he actually doubted HaShem’s justice for 30 years until he heard Dobbie howling like a dog as he died mad with rabies.

  2. shomer Hashem et kol ohavav vet kol hareshaim yashmid! Hashem will protect his beloved and all who are evil He will destroy…notice the present tense vs the future tense at the end of the pasuk..(out of tehilim and ashrei prayer said at mincha and shachris) I read a few pages of tgarden of grattude over shabbos and found that real gratitude is “incentive free” it has to be pure no strings attached…I find that a challenge because although I thank Him for the amazing chesed of each living thriving day …i do want to see things improve…is this wrong even if I believe bemuma shlaima thatHe can make good even better or weak a bit stronger?..

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