Where are you going?

The famous Torah scholar, Rabbi Yonatan Eibeschutz, was an advisor to the king.

Once, while strolling down the streets of Vienna, the king met his wise advisor and friend. After greeting each other amiably, the king asked his Jewish subject where he was going.

“I don’t know,” Reb Yonatan replied in all honesty.

The king’s eyes flashed with sudden anger. Friend or not, how dare he trifle with his Majesty! The king ordered his guards to have the advisor arrested and imprisoned. However, before the day was over, the king relented. “After all,” the king thought to himself, “this is my wise advisor; he couldn’t have meant to slight me. There must be an explanation for his behavior.”

The ruler visited the eminent scholar in his cell. “Look here,” he scolded, “how dare you trifle with your King so frivolously?”

“I didn’t mean to trifle with you, your Majesty,” explained the scholar ruefully. “You did not ask me where I was planning to go; you asked me where I was going. I really did not know where I was going. It must be clear to you by now. You see, earlier today I had planned to go study and pray at the synagogue, and instead I ended up in jail!”

~ Chicken Soup to Warm the Neshama

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