Forgiving in the same spirit

Rabbi Nahum of Chernobyl was the object of constant insults from a shopkeeper. One day, the man’s business began to go downhill.
 
‘It must be the rabbi, asking for vengeance from God,’ he thought. And he went to apologise to the rabbi.
 
‘I forgive you in the same spirit in which you forgive me,’ replied the rabbi.
 
Yet the man continued to lose money hand over fist until, finally, he was reduced to abject poverty. Nahum’s disciples were horrified and went to ask the rabbi what had happened.
 
‘I forgave him, but deep down in his heart, he still hated me,’ said the rabbi. ‘His hatred contaminated everything he did, and so God’s punishment proved even more severe.’

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