Sanzer Rav, author of the Divrei Chaim used to tell the following parable
which he in turn had heard and received as a tradition from his rebbe the
There was once a galach (priest) who constantly rebuked and castigated his
parishioners against drinking vodka and other forms of hard liquor.
Once when this galach passed through the marketplace he saw one of his
parishioners lying like a drunkard on the sidewalk in a dazed stupor.
When his alcohol induced state wore off he reported to the galach to await
punishment for his public misconduct. The galach proceeded to rebuke him to
his face. "I am sorry," replied the parishioner, "but there is nothing that
can make me give up my drinking habit, I am hooked on this drink and that's
When the galach heard this, he asked one of his attendants to bring him some
brandy so he could sample it for himself. "I must see for myself why this
drink is so addictive," he thought, "it must taste so wonderful and be so
tempting that he cannot give it up!"
The attendant brought his master a glass of strong brandy and the galach
sipped the drink and immediately spit it out wrinkling his nose, while
wheezing, hacking, coughing and retching violently.
"This is disgusting!," he declared, "how can you drink such strong, bitter
liquid!?" he questioned the drunkard. With a wave of dismissal the galach
said "you can go! You don't need any punishment at all! Drinking such bitter
horrible stuff such as that . . . there is no better punishment for you!"
When he concluded the story he explained the parable's message:
The same is true regarding sins and transgressions that people do. People
sin and transgress thinking of the pleasure and delight they will feel.
However anyone who has never tasted sin in his life would taste in such
actions the bitter and vile poison that they really are!
With this we can advocate on behalf of Klal Yisroel and say: Ribono Shel
Olam - Master of the World there is no need to further punish the yidden for
any of their sins! The bitter taste of sin itself should be punishment
(Sippurei Tzadikim Succos p18)
R' Tal Moshe Zwecker
Director Machon Be'er Mayim Chaim
Chassidic Classics in the English Language
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