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However, as soon as he returned, his profits began to sag and before he knew it, he had lost nearly all of his money. The businessman was thoroughly flummoxed, for it made no sense; it violated every rule of business.

Devastated and perplexed, he brought his dilemma directly to Reb Elimelech. “How could it be that I profited so nicely by contributing to the student and lost so much by donating to the teacher? Surely you agree that your teacher is superior to you.”

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“I not only agree,” Reb Elimelech stated emphatically, “but assure you that there has never been a greater understatement. The holy Maggid is so much more pious, devout, learned and righteous than I. However, you donated to me without making any calculations – whether I was worthy or not. And Heaven reacted, measure-for-measure.

“Once you started to calculate and leverage which tzaddik is greater – so that you could earn more – your actions fell under Heavenly scrutiny. Your desire for the “better-connected” resulted in a celestial search for the “better-connected.” Are you, or aren’t you, an individual worthy of receiving wealth? Apparently, a more worthy candidate has been located and your former assets were diverted to him. The way a person judges is the way he is judged.”

(To be continued)

Chodesh tov – have a pleasant month!

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