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The Tale of Isaac Ikboch

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On a cold December evening in a small village south of Nazareth an infant child lay in the snow wrapped in burlap at the doorway of a synagogue, he appeared numb and blue from the cold.

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Who would be so uncaring and cruel to have resorted to such a terrible thing as abandoning an infant, perhaps they had no other choice. Fortunately, the infant was discovered by the Temple Rabbi, who soon found a charitable family to provide for him, they named the boy Isaac, using the family name, Ikboch.

In growing up Isaac became a problem both at home and in school. He would not show any respect for his parents nor obey his teachers. He would not let anyone get close to him, often saying, in time they would only abandon him. He made it a point to never do anything he was told. He was a very lonely and angry boy with distrust toward anyone. His entire growing up was consumed with the fear of abandonment being just a heartbeat away.

As the years passed, Isaac left home and went out on his own, and in time became a businessman owning his own hostel in a nearby village. Even as a businessman he cared little for the patrons of his inn. He failed to provide oil for their lamps so as to allow them to read the Torah. The food he provided was made up of spoiled porridge and stale bread. Isaac had no regard for himself or others, but, on this December night, his life changed forever.

He answered a knock on his door and found a man and a woman standing in the cold. The man explained to Isaac, his wife was close to bearing a child. He explained they had no money and begged to be allowed the warmth and comfort of the inn. Isaac slammed the door and sent them off. As he stood inside the closed-door something came over him, he opened the door and called to the couple huddled in the alley telling them they could find refuge in his stable.

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Word traveled throughout the village of what Isaac had done and the Rabbi came to see him. The Rabbi asked why he had done such an admirable thing and Isaac answered that he was “told to do it.” The Rabbi could not believe it since he never before had done anything he was told. My son you were told by the Father, our Father, the Father who will never abandon you, the Father to all of us, you have earned a place in the kingdom of God.

That night changed Isaac Ikboch forever.

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