A Kashrut Story

Two young Jews once decided to try their luck together and go out in search of wealth. They formed a partnership and traveled forth across the vast country of old-time Russia. Fortune smiled upon them, and before long, they had amassed quite a fortune. This seemed to have gone to their heads and they gradually wandered away, not only far from their homes, but sad to tell, also very far from Judaism.

At first they were careful to observe Yiddishkeit; they Davened regularly and were careful to eat only Kosher food. But gradually, they began to be lax. First they found it inconvenient to stop their business deals at the required times for Davening. Then they found it difficult to get food which was Kosher. They had lots of money and could not resist the temptation to spend it on all sorts of forbidden things. At first they felt guilty and uneasy about their new way of life. But repetition made it easier, and before long their conscience stopped bothering them.

One day, feeling particularly pleased with themselves at the way life was treating them, they stopped at what e seemed like a luxurious-looking inn, and asked if they might lodge there and get some food.

"Come in, my friends," said the prosperous-looking owner. "You are most welcome to stay here, but I see you are Jews, so I must tell you that eh food may not be Kosher enough for you."

"That doesn't bother us at all," relied the young men. "We are just as ready and happy to eat non-Kosher food as we ever were to eat Kosher."

"In that case, let me show you to your room," said the owner, lading the way to a room off the hall. He told them to sit down and he would soon return.

The owner was absent for quite a long time. The two young Jews had unpacked their belongings and refreshed themselves and were getting somewhat impatient, as they were rather hungry.

Suddenly, the door opened without warning, and in marched the owner with two tall, athletic-looking young men whom he introduced as his sons. Before the guest realized what was happening, they saw, to their horror that the boys had brought out two murderous knives and were coming towards them threateningly.

"Good Heavens!" cried out one of the guest, while the other gaped speechlessly. "What on earth is going on here!"

"Ha, ha ha!" laughed the owner with a cruel look on his face. "You have been caught nicely, eh? How do you thing I could own such a beautiful place? Just by being a simple innkeeper? Not at all. THIS is the way we do it. We get rid of such foolish people as you and take their wealth away. And who is to ask questions? No one knows you came here but me. You saw, yourselves, how far away we are from civilization."

"Please have mercy on us," begged the two terrified young guests. "Take what you will from us, but let us live."

"Very well," answered the innkeeper. "We shall leave you in peace until tomorrow, as we are too busy to be bothered with you in any case." Saying which, the innkeeper and his two sons went out, bolting and barring the door behind them.

The two young Jews now had plenty of time to sit and brood about their sorry fate. They forgot all about being hungry they had something else to worry about now. They tried hard to think of a way of saving themselves, but felt little hope of softening the heart of the cruel innkeeper. "Who would have thought it possible that this similing individual could so suddenly change into so murderous a man! Whatever got hold of him and gave him such a terrible idea!" they sadly pondered.

The folowoign day the innkeeper returned with his two sons. Each of them got a strangle hold on each "guest" ad they thought that their end had surely come. With their last remaining strength and breath they pleaded for their lives. When the sons release their hold for a moment, the tow guest took advantage of it to beg that they be allowed to live one more day, so that they could pray to G-d to forgive them for all their sins. Then they would be ready to dies and go to their maker as true repenters. They now realized how wrong they had been to think that doing business and amassing wealth were the only worthwhile tings. Now in truth they realized that their fortunes meant nothing to them, and only obeying G-d's commands could stand them in good stead.

"As you are to die anyway, we'll leave you until tomorrow to make your peace with G-d from whom you suddenly want help because things have gone badly with you. Where were your thoughts of Him when you were prosperous, eh?" the innkeeper sneered at them.

The two Jewish were too miserable to reply. They spent the whole day reciting what they could remember of the Yom Kippur prayers for they knew that they deserved to die. At least they meant to come to G-d in true repentance, and hoped He would have mercy on their souls.

The following morning they waited in resignation for the innkeeper's coming. They heard his footsteps and they turned their eyes towards the door. It opened and they could not believe the evidence of their own eyes. What had happened? Were they dreaming?! The innkeeper's face was beaming as he entered, with his two sons following behind him carrying two big trays loaded with a huge pot of hot tea, plates with rolls and butter, eggs and cheese and so much more.

"My dear young men," began the innkeeper. "Let me explain the meaning of my apparently terrible behavior towards you. But first, wash and eat. You have fasted enough. The two guests needed no second bidding, and as they sat down to their so-welcome meal, the innkeeper continued, his sons looking on similingly.

"Some time back, I had the very great honor and privilege of being host to the great Rabbi of Liadi, the first Lubavitcher Rebbe, of saintly memory. I realized what a great personality I was privileged to have in my house and naturally did all I could to be worthy of the honor done me. Before the Rabbi life he blessed me saying "You will have a big and beautiful inn, and many Jews will come to stay with you. If ever two young men come to you, saying they are prepared to eat non-Kosher food, you must give them a bad times, until you see that they repent from their wrongdoing and are prepared to become good Jews again."

"I had forgotten about the warning of the Rabbi, as many years have passed by , and no Jew had come here saying they were prepare to eat Non-Kosher food until you two misguided young men appeared the other day and so shamelessly expressed yourselves. But I know now the great Rabbi had you tow in mind, and you certainly have learned your lesson, as he knew you would. I too believed the matter would turn out so, and this gave me the courage to put on such a cruel and heartless attitude towards you.

"Now, dear friends, you are welcome to stay here for as long as you wish, and I shall give you the best of my services. Naturally, you are free to return to your homes as soon as you wish, wiser and better Jews than ever before. G-d bless you both, now and always."