One of the disciples of the Mezritcher Maggid requested permission to return home after a long stint studying Torah in Mezritch. The Maggid demurred, stating that it would be preferable for him to remain for a while longer.
The chassid departed, and when it was nearly evening, stopped at an inn on the way to sleep for the night. When he woke up the next morning, he discovered — much to his chagrin — that every single one of his possessions had been stolen! The only things that remained were the clothes he was wearing.
He retraced his steps back to Mezritch, and told the Maggid what had happened.
“Don’t worry!” the Maggid said. “The thief will return all of your possessions. Travel immediately to the town that is approximately a mile from that inn.”
The Maggid went on to describe the appearance of the thief.
“When you find him, tell him the following: The Rebbe, the Maggid of Mezritch, commands you to immediately return all of my possessions that you stole in the inn that night!”
And so it was. The hopeful chassid journeyed to the aforementioned town, located the thief, and relayed the Maggid’s message.
“The holy Rebbe is correct!” the thief proclaimed. “Indeed, I stole all your stuff! I will return everything to you. But, I would like to personally return them to the Maggid himself, as I have a question to ask him.”
Both men departed for Mezritch.
Upon arrival, the thief said to the Maggid, “I see that you are a G-dly man. Indeed, I have the stolen goods. However, I will not return them until you answer my question.”
“Ask, my son,” said the Maggid.
“How can it be,” the thief began, “that a righteous man such as yourself, who has obviously been granted pure and refined vision from Above and is able to see from afar — in a completely spiritual way — should lower himself to watch thieves engaged in their work?
“With such spiritual talent, wouldn’t it be more appropriate for you to gaze at more spiritually refined things?”
“Gut gezogt, good question,” the Maggid responded. “I’ll tell you the truth. When I saw you doing what you were doing, I was in a place where it is forbidden to think about holy things [i.e., in a bathroom, or another such place]. At that time, when I was unable to look at spiritual sights, I saw you stealing from my dear student…”
With that, the thief returned everything.
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Shabbat Shalom, and praying for the safety of our soldiers in the IDF,