The Rabbi and The Tanner; Monday Morning Parable

There was a rabbi who went to teach Torah for a week in a small rural town.  The people of this town had never had any exposure to such a talented, intelligent, and gifted teacher.

Halfway through the rabbi’s time teaching in the town an ordinary tanner approached the rabbi and said “rabbi you are a very great and nice man, would you honor my wife and I by coming to have Sabbath dinner at our house?”

The rabbi said, “Yes, I would love to.”

When Sabbath came the house was spotless, and very plain and simple because the Tanner did not make much money.  The meal nevertheless was just as it was supposed to be.

As they got to the table the Tanner realized to his chagrin that the wife had forgotten something.  On most days God is blessed first (for the bread) before the meal.  On Sabbath God is blessed first (for the wine), and then God is blessed for the bread after that.

The bread is knotted and covered with a white cloth when God is blessed for the wine and then uncovered when God is blessed for the bread.  Ashamed, the man told his wife that she had forgotten the cover for the bread, and asked her to please go and get the cover.  His wife got up quickly went and got the cover and covered the bread. The simple tanner then proceeded to bless God for the wine and then bless Him for the bread.

As the meal went on the rabbi said, “do you know why we cover the bread when we bless God for the wine?”

The Tanner said, “Because on Sabbath we bless the wine first, and we don’t want to embarrass the bread.”

The rabbi said, “you’re right, but why do we do that?”

The Tanner said “to remind us that we must never embarrass another, for if we wouldn’t embarrass the bread, how much less would we embarrass another person?”

To his embarrassment the tanner realized and expressed his sorrow to his wife that he had missed the point of covering the bread, and embarrassed her in front of an esteemed guest.

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