Wednesday, May 26, 2010

never surrender a good question

A man tortured by doubt travels a great distance 
hoping to ask a famous teacher his question. 
 At first, the teacher's disciples will not allow the stranger into the study house, 
but one day he finds a way to slip in, approaches the Rebbe, and speaks:
 'Venerable Rebbe, forgive me for disturbing you,
 but I have traveled many weeks and waited many days
 for the chance to ask you a question 
that has troubled me all my adult life.' 
 'What is your question?', the teacher responds.  
The man asks, 'What is the essence of truth?'  
The Rebbe looks at his visitor for a moment, 
rises from his chair, approaches, and slaps him hard.
  Then he withdraws again to his books.
Shocked, the questioner retreats to a tavern across the way,
 bitterly and loudly complaining of his mistreatment.  
On of the teacher's disciples, overhearing, takes pity and explains:
 'The Rebbe's slap was given you in great kindness,
 to teach you this:
 never surrender a good question for a mere answer.'
~ Traditional Hasidic story