A Source Of Hope

In the Beis Medrash (Study Hall) of R' Chaim of Sanz, it was the custom to study late into the night. In fact, it was something that the Rebbe expected of his closest students since there is no time more conducive for productive Torah learning than the night.

One late night, after many consecutive hours of uniterrupted study, the students became weary. They began to shmooze (converse) amongst themselves. When Torah scholars start shmoozing they don't talk about just anything! What do they talk about? Stories of the Tzaddikim, the holy and righteous Rebbes who founded and fostered the Chassidic movement.

Then, suddenly R' Chaim walked into the study hall. Immediately he perceived that the students had already left off studying. "And what is this shmoozing about", he encountered them. Embarrased as they were, they had no choice but to 'confess'. The oldest of the the group found to the courage to stammer, "We..we..we..were tr...tr..trading stories of Tza..tza..addikim". "Is that so...", demured the Rebbe, "then I also have a story to share."

"There once was, maybe there still is, a huge bird who lived on a desert isle and his name is the "Fah". The Fah was afflicted with painful and unseemly sores all over his legs. Sometimes he would look at his legs and sink into utter desparation because of the terrible sores and he would contemplate hurling himself in the sea. Finally he decides, he takes off into flight and prepares hinself for his last moments before hurtling into the depths. As his last moment of life approaches, he all of a sudden catches a glimpse of his outstreched wings, skillfully manuevering the air currents, their multicolored feathers glistening and glimmering in the sunlight. He feels unexpectedly revived, his desire for life surges through him and the Fah changes course, now soaring higher and higher into the skies with renewed enthusiasm and joy."

"So it is with us", R' Chaim reflected. "When we look at ourselves and our deeds we can easily come to despair. How small and insignifigant we are. How much potential have we wasted, how many precious hours and minutes have we let slip through our fingers with nothing accomplished. But when we tell stories of our tzadikkim and reflect on their lives and deeds, we become refreshed, we are reminded just what a Jew can become. We once again have hope!"