One year, on the Motzoei Shabbos of the first Selichos, a simple Sephardic Jew set up a small table in Bnei Brak near the Vizhnitzer bais medrash in order to sell Selichos booklets. “Selichot. Selichot,” he called out, but no one even stopped to look. Everyone was arriving with their Selichos in hand, and the poor man stood there hearing empty echoes of his lonely calls. “Selichot. Selichot,” he continued to shout, thinking that maybe people would stop by and purchase a booklet or two.
Finally, his faith was rewarded. The Vizhnitzer Rebbe, the Imrei Chaim zt”l, passed with his entourage. The rebbe saw the humble Jew with a pile of unsold Selichos booklets and grasped the situation.
The rebbe walked over and took his place behind the table.
“Selichos,” the rebbe called out. “Ver vil koifen? Who wants to buy?”
Immediately, a crowd formed. Which chossid would turn down an opportunity to use a Selichos received from the rebbe’s own hand? In no time, the booklets were sold out.
“Do you have more?” the rebbe asked the vendor.
“Yes, I have another case in my machsan,” he said.
“Then hurry and go get it,” the rebbe said, maintaining his post.
The rebbe sold out the second batch as well, handing the dumbfounded seller piles of money he no doubt put to good use.
With that done, the rebbe continued to the bais medrash to recite Selichos.
The rebbe had taught his chassidim a valuable lesson. He demonstrated the glory of helping another Jew. He showed them that the opportunities are everywhere, and those blessed with good vision take advantage of them. There was no introduction more fitting to Selichos for those looking for Heavenly mercy.
Do you want “Selichot”? Do you want Hashem to forgive your sins? Help another Jew. Look beyond your comfort zone and take note of what is going on around you. “Re’eh.” Look. Really look and you will find the “Anochi nosein lifneichem hayom brochah.”
Re’eh. See opportunities. See the needs of other Jews. See your own potential.
Open your eyes to the reality of life. Open your eyes to the opportunities for greatness, growth, forgiveness and blessing.