Burdens

A tzaddik and his protégé were traveling together. At one point, they came to a river with a strong current. As the two righteous men were preparing to cross the river, they saw a very young and beautiful woman also attempting to cross. The young woman asked if they could help her.

The tzaddik carried the woman in his arms and forded the river to the other bank. The protégé was very upset, but said nothing.

They both were walking, and the rebbe noticed that his junior was suddenly silent. So he enquired “Nu, what’s the matter? You seem very upset.”

The tzaddik’s companion replied, “As holy men, we are not permitted women, other than our wives; how could you then carry that woman in your arms?”

The tzaddik replied, “I put the girl down on the river bank–”

“No, you didn’t!” the younger man cried.

The old rebbe looked down at the young woman cradled in his arms as she caressed his face lovingly.

“All right,” he said wearily. “So I didn’t put her down….”

About Michael Butchin

I was born, according to the official records, in the Year of the Ram, under the Element of Fire, when Johnson ruled the land with a heavy heart; in the Cradle of Liberty, to a family of bohemians. I studied Chinese language and literature at Rutgers University, New Brunswick. I spent some years in Taiwan teaching kindergarten during the day, and ESOL during the evenings. I currently work as a faceless drone in a corporate call center, and am an unlikely martial artist. I have spent much of my life amongst actors, singers, movie stars, beautiful cultists, Taoist immortals, renegade monks, and at least one martial arts tzaddik. I currently reside in my dead grandparents’ house, alone, with an impressive collection of martial arts weapons, where I practice and train daily. I am not currently on any medications.
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