A daughter of a renowned Rabbi fell ill and her husband sent daily telegrams to the Rabbi updating him on her status.
One day there was no telegram and the Rabbi became very distressed. His son comforted him by saying, “it will come later, don’t worry so.” In fact, a telegram did arrive later in the day, informing the rabbi that his daughter had made a complete recovery.
The son rushed to the house expecting his father to be celebrating. Instead, the son found him weeping. “I don’t understand your tears,” the son said. “Sarah is fine, why are you not consoled?”
And the Rabbi explained, “All my life I have tried to purify my character. The most difficult trait, one that I found almost impossible to master, was: loving my neighbor as myself. I thought I had finally arrived at a state where I could love all people as I love your sister, you, and myself. When this telegram was late in arriving, I realized that I reacted not as rebbe but as a father. I still love you more than them. And for this I am quite sad.”
Discuss: If the Rabbi came to you with his dilemma, what would you say to him?