Kabbalah & Mysticism

The Soul of Your Debtor is In the Donkey

Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky instructs the owners of the “Gemachim”- Free loan Societies that they shouldn’t leave unpaid debts in their Gmach.  “The Arizal writes that when a person dies without repaying his debts, not only will he descend in reincarnation, but also the lender will return to this world so that the borrower can repay him. Therefore, it is important that there remain no outstanding debts of a deceased person in the Gmach,” Rabbi Kanievsky explains his words.

“On this topic, the Vilna Gaon once told a chilling story about the holy Ari: “Once the Arizal was hosted by a rich man. Suddenly he made an astonishing request: he wanted to go out and see the rich man's stables. The landlord was astonished but  showed his important guest where the stables were. The Arizal looked around and pointed to one of the donkeys: 'Do you want to give me this donkey?' He asked the stable owner.

“That donkey? I cannot give that one, he works as much as a few donkeys together, and I make huge profits from it!” The Arizal remained silent and returned to the rich man's living room. Now he wanted to see all his host's bills. The rich man brought a respectful pile of bills. “This is a bill for a loan from a neighboring Jew,” the rich man explained. “And this is a note from someone, who grew up in the nearby city, who was recently hit by economic difficulties.”

“The Arizal pointed to an outdated worn out bill: 'What is this note?'” He asked the rich man, who replied: 'This is a promissory note of a Jew who died a long time ago, there is no chance that the money will ever come back to me”. “Will you give me the bill as a present?' the Arizal asked. The rich man shrugged. “Why not?”The Arizal picked up the bill and tore it apart. 'Now, go and see how your donkey is doing,' he told the rich man. The rich man left the parlor and came back from the stables stunned: “The donkey is dead! I don't understand what happened to him! He was healthier and stronger than all my animals!” The rich man said.

“Do you know,” the Arizal told him, “that the soul of your deceased debtor was placed into this donkey. From heaven he was forced to return to this world reincarnated to repay his debts to you. Now that you have forgiven him of the debt, his tormented soul has come to rest, and it has returned to heaven.”

Rabbi Kanievsky concludes the story, which demonstrates how much a person should be careful not to have wrongful possession of money, and not to leave any outstanding debts or even notes of debts owed to you from people already deceased.

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