The Ruzhiner Rebbe had a dilemma during Yom Kippur davening until he remembered an episode with his father as a child.
By Dovid Zaklikowski, Hasidic Archives
The study hall of Rabbi Yisrael Friedman of Ruzhin was crowded with his followers. It was Yom Kippur, and the Ruzhiner, as he was known, was leading the services. Suddenly, in the midst of the prayers, he paused. Several minutes passed in silence while the chassidim waited.
Soon they were beginning to wonder if perhaps their leader was unwell, when he began again: “Blessed is G-d, who forgives and pardons our sins and the sins of His people, the House of Israel!”
Later, Rabbi Yisrael explained: When he had come to the blessing, he felt that he could not recite it, because there were some sins committed that year that G-d would not pardon. Then he had remembered something that happened when he was a little boy.
To train him in self-discipline, his father used to place delicious fruits before him on the table but not allow him to taste them.
Once, his father showed him a particularly lush apple. Rather than asking as usual and being refused, the Ruzhiner recalled, “I said the blessing, and he was forced to give it to me, otherwise the blessing would have been in vain.”
He had recited the blessing for G-d’s pardon with the same intention, he concluded. “Surely G-d will forgive all our sins. After all, He does not want us to recite a blessing in vain!”