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The Chandelier

adapted by Gedaliah Fleer

from the stories of Rebbe Nachman

The Rebbe told:

Once there was a young man who travelled through many distant countries in search of a master craftsman from whom he could learn a trade. After a while he returned home and announced to his family that he had become an expert designer of chandeliers. "I have become so talented in my new-found trade," he explained, "that my work far surpasses even the greatest masterpieces of my teacher." Then, realizing that the family was a bit dubious about the measure of his success, he asked his father to invite the leading chandelier craftsmen in the city to view a sample of his own creation.

The craftsmen came and carefully examined the young man's work. They all agreed that they had never before laid eyes on such a monstrosity. "It's a disgrace to our entire profession," said one, " though this particular piece right here is quite good." "It's absolutely hideous," said another, "but that particular piece over there is excellent." "It should be burned," said a third, "so that others need not suffer the experience. However," he added, "that piece there is perfection itself."

When they had gone, the young man approached his father and said, "Now you know that I was not exaggerating at all, I am indeed the master of all master craftsman." His father looked at him in bewilderment. "What do you mean?" he exclaimed. "You heard their conversation, your chandelier is a monstrosity!"

"I heard," replied the young man. "However, did you notice that each of the craftsman admired a particular piece of my work, but no two craftsmen admired the same piece. For when I was abroad I studied the work of each of these men. Then I decided to make a chandelier which combined all of their imperfections. Today you saw every craftsman recognize the imperfections of his associates, while pointing to his own mistake and seeing it as nearly perfect."

Rebbe Nachman concluded this parable by stating:

"If a man could know all the possible imperfections and shortcomings of a given thing, then he would also know the exact makeup and appearance of that same thing in its perfect state, though he had never seen it before."

[small decorative rule]

Copyright ©1998 by Gedaliah Fleer.
Used by permission.

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