The knife slid smoothly out of the golden butter, and Issur savored the sound of the toast crunching beneath it as he prepared his breakfast.
Breakfast was a luxury in Radzyn that few were able to afford. Those in the shtetl that could, most likely owed their good fortune to a job they were able to get working for Issur. This morning, as most residents scurried around and traded their coins for a taste of Shabbos, Issur washed netillas yadayim, made hamotsi on his bread, and cleared his mind of everything but the thought of all the money he was making in the market at that very moment.
Issur sat in his chair, and looked out of the window by his table. In it, he could see a weak reflection of the brightly colored jams, breads, yogurts, and fruits that were spread out on in front of him. The window was large and clean. It overlooked the entire shtetl of Radzyn, affording him a perspective that allowed him to count his own blessings. In quiet moments like this one, he would avert his gaze from the town below and focus his efforts on choosing which jam to try next.
As his eyes darted around the lavish table, desperate for something new, they were quickly drawn back to the window and the object that was flying towards it.
Issur uncovered his face to see splinters of shattered glass amidst impaled pastries, which now bled jelly onto each other. The orange juice swayed rhythmically inside its pitcher, sending waves of pulp cascading over the sides and onto the table beneath it.
Appearing through the broken window stood a chassid, unapologetic and firm. He climbed through deliberately, and now stood calmly inside.
Issur’s shock soon turned to anger about this man’s utter lack of consideration for personal property, but quickly turned to curiosity once he recognized who the intruder was. Every action taken in Radzyn was meant to be complete: Its intention was reflected inside and out, and the delivery of a request said everything the recipient needed to know. It was no different when the Rebbe sent his gabbai to deliver message; the challenge was seeing clearly enough to decipher it.
No matter which side of Issur’s former window you lived, this was not a request that could be ignored. But, it would appear, it could be challenged.
“Please,” interrupted the gabbai , “bring the fiddle you purchased this morning. It’s worth far too much to leave unattended.”