Forgiving in the same spirit

 

The Rabbi Nahum of Chernobyl was always being insulted by a shopkeeper. One day, the latter’s business began to go badly.

“It must be the Rabbi, who is asking for God’s revenge,” he thought. He went to ask Nahum’s forgiveness.

– I forgive you in the same spirit you ask for forgiveness – replied the Rabbi.

But the man’s losses just kept increasing, until he was reduced to misery. Nahum’s horrified disciples went to ask him what had happened.

– I forgave him, but he continued to hate me deep down in his heart – said the Rabbi – Therefore, his hatred contaminated everything he did, and God’s punishment became more and more severe.