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When the man heard this, he said: “Rebbe, I must know this great secret. How is it possible for someone like myself to become worthy of earning it?”

Do Good Deeds


Rav Naftali looked at him gravely and said: “There lies great and laborious work ahead of you if you really desire to be worthy of this great secret. First, you must search your heart and conscience and root out all sins. You must repent of them and promise not to repeat them. You must give more charity to the poor, do more good deeds to all those in need, and you must fast and dedicate yourself to the proper life.”

The Chassid Learns

“Oh, I will, I will,” exclaimed the chassid. “I will do all this if only I can learn the great reason behind you cutting your nails after the mikvah.”

True to his word, the man followed to the letter everything that his rav had told him. He gave large amounts of money to the poor, he helped people in their troubles, and he searched out and corrected his conduct.

The change in him was astonishing. He now came back to Rav Naftali and asked him: “Rebbe, I have done all that you said that I must. I hope now that I am worthy to learn the great secret. Tell me, please, why do you wait until after you have immersed yourself in the mikvah before cutting your toenails?”

Rav Naftali looked at the chassid and said: “It is true, you have indeed become a better person because of your desire to know the secret and lofty reason behind my actions. Bend over and I will whisper it in your ear.”

Eagerly and trembling with anticipation, the man bent over. Rav Naftali whispered: “Know you, that this is the nature of toe nails.   When you immerse them in water first, they get soft and they are easier to cut.”


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