The Rabbi of Rozadov had a dedicated chassid who was childless, and who frequently begged the Rabbi for a bracha (blessing) that he have a child. The Rabbi often blessed him, but the blessing did not materialize.
One time the Rabbi’s brother, the Rabbi of Zhikov, a chassidic master in his own right, visited Rozadov, and the chassid unburdened himself to him, stating that nothing in his life was fulfilling since he was childless. The Rabbi of Zhikov said, “If you will come to Zhikov and spend Rosh Hashanah (New Year) with me, I promise you that you will have a child.” The chassid then related this conversation to the Rabbi of Rozadov who said, “If my brother assured you that you will be blessed with a child, you can be confident that this will come true. By all means, do as he says, and go to Zhikov for Rosh Hashanah.”
On Rosh Hashanah, the Rabbi of Rozadov noted that the chassid was in shul (synagogue). “What are you doing here?” he asked, “You were supposed to be with my brother in Zhikov.”
“I know,” the chassid said, “but I got to thinking that everyone knows that over the years you have been giving me a brachah for a child, but that brachah was not fulfilled. If I had gone to your brother for Rosh Hashanah and then did have a child, what would people say? ‘The Rabbi of Zhikov is a greater tzaddik than the Rabbi of Rozadov, because his blessings are more potent.’ That might cause you to feel slighted. Just because I have a desire to have a child is no reason to cause you any distress.”
The Rabbi of Rozadov was deeply moved and said, “Well, in that case, I will promise you a child this year,” and indeed that year a son was born to him.
The Rabbi of Rozadov said, “Do not think that I am a miracle worker and that my brachah brought him a child. When a person is so concerned about another person’s feelings that he is willing to give up an assurance of having a child, something which is his greatest desire in life, certainly that mitzvah merits his being amply rewarded. This chassid earned the blessing of a child because of his deep concern that I might have been slighted, and it was his merits and not mine that brought him this reward.
Reprinted from Not Just Stories