But I Can Cry With You

A man once came to the Holy Reb Yitzhak Vorker, one of the great Hasidic masters, and he cried, “Rebbe, I’m mamash desperate, really desperate. My child is so sick, he may even be dying God forbid! Rebbe, I’m begging you, please pray for my son to get well.”

The Vorker sat very still. He closed his eyes and swayed back and forth for a while. Then he looked at the Yiddele, the simple Jew, and said sadly, “I’m so sorry to tell you, but all the Gates of Heaven are closed so tightly there’s nothing I can do to open them. I’m sorry but you might as well go home.”

The father buried his head in his hands and began to sob. But what could he do? He climbed back on his wagon and started out on his way back home, crying the whole time. He had been traveling for about a half hour when suddenly he heard the sound of another wagon chasing after him. He turned around. It was the holy Vorker himself! The Rebbe pulled up beside the Yiddele. “Stop your wagon here,” he said. “I have something to say to you.” They reigned in their horses, the Vorker Rebbe helped the father down from the wagon, and they sat together on the grass by the side of the road.

“After you left,” the Rebbe went on, “I couldn’t stop thinking about you and your son. You were so, so sad and it mamash broke my heart. Then I realized… I may not be able to help your son, but at least I can cry with you.” And the Rebbe put his arm around the Yiddele, bowed his holy head, and began to sob from the deepest depths of his heart. To his surprise, the father realized that the Rebbe was crying harder for his son than he himself had ever cried for anything in his own life. So the father started sobbing even more. The two men sat crying together for a long time.

Suddenly the Rebbe lifted his head, wiped away his tears, and he smiled. The man turned to the Rebbe and asked, “What is it?” The Rebbe said, “Something amazing has just happened… the Gates in Heaven have suddenly opened!”

(Lamed Vav, Tzlotana Barbara Midlo, 2004, p.117)

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