A Teaching Story from The Book of Jewish Values: A Day-by-Day Guide to Ethical Living by Rabbi Joseph Telushkin
Rabbi Joseph Telushkin presents a rich smorgasbord of wise counsel using illustrative material from Jewish tradition and contemporary experiences. He covers relationships, marriage and childrearing, work, and moral issues. Here's a story from the book.
"The great rabbinic sage Rabbi Israel Salanter (1810-1883) was once spending the night at a shoemaker's home. Late at night, Salanter saw the man still working by the light of a flickering, almost extinguished candle.
"Rabbi Salanter went over to the man: 'Look how late it is; your candle is about to go out. Why are you still working?'
"The shoemaker, undeterred by the rabbi's words, replied, 'As long as the candle is burning, it is still possible to mend.'
"For weeks afterward, Rabbi Salanter was heard repeating the shoemaker's words: 'As long as the candle is burning, it is still possible to mend.'
"As long as there is life — as long as the candle is burning — we can mend. We can reconcile with those from whom we've become estranged, help make peace within our families, give charity, aid a friend in financial straits to establish himself or herself in business, and work on learning to express our anger fairly."
To Practice: What mending must you attend to while the candle is still burning?