Thursday, November 08, 2007

Who Needs the Horse?

There once was an incident, where a certain Rebbe came to visit the Kotzker Rebbe. The Kotzker Rebbe gave him tremendous honor, and arranged for him a lavish feast. His disciples were astonished, for they knew that the Kotzker Rebbe did not hold this other individual in such high esteem.

The Kotzker explained: The Gemora (Kesuvos 67b) states: You are commanded to support a poor person, but you are not commanded to make him rich. You must provide for him a horse to ride on and a servant to run before him.

Now, it is understandable, the Rebbe said, that a person might need a horse to ride on, for perhaps, he is weak or ill, but what is the necessity in having a servant running before the horse? That is silly!

It is therefore evident, the Rebbe concluded, that one is obligated to provide even foolish things for a fool. This guest, although he might not be worthy of the honor we bestowed upon him, it is obvious that this is the manner in which he wishes to be treated. It is therefore our obligation to honor him.