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An old Jewish legend tells of two brothers, Abram and Zimri, who owned a field and worked it together. They agreed to divide both the labor and the harvest equally. One night as the harvest came to a close, Zimri could not sleep, for it didn’t seem right that Abram, who had a wife and seven sons to feed, should receive only half of the harvest, while he, with only himself to support, had so much.

So Zimri dressed and quietly went into the field, where he took a third of his harvest and put it in his brother’s pile. He then returned to his bed, satisfied that he had done the right thing.

Meanwhile, Abram could not sleep either. He thought of his poor brother, Zimri, who was all alone and had no sons to help him with the work. It did not seem right that Zimri, who worked so hard by himself, should get only half of the harvest. Surely this was not pleasing to God. And so Abram quietly went to the fields, where he took a third of his harvest and placed it in the pile of his beloved brother.

The next morning, the brothers went to the field and were both astonished that the piles still looked to be the same size. That night both brothers slipped out of their houses to repeat their efforts of the previous night. But this time they discovered each other, and when they did, they wept and embraced. Neither could speak, for their hearts were overcome with love and gratitude.

This is the spirit of compassion: that we love others as ourselves, seek their happiness, and do unto them as we hope they would do unto us.

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Comment by Hayyim Feldman on June 23, 2010 at 8:53pm
Thank you so much for posting this beautiful story, MaidservantX. (Sorry if you've shared another name here that I haven't seen.) I am guessing that whoever you first heard it from omitted the final part, since you didn't include it here.

Because of what happened between brothers in that field, it was later selected as the site of the Beit HaMikdash, the ancient (and, G!d willing, future) Holy Temple in Jerusalem, where the Dome of the Rock and Al Aqsa mosque now stand.

May it once again be a place of such generous brotherly love!

Love and blessings,
-Hayyim

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