In a late-night fire in the town of Beshenkovitz, the home of the chassid Rabbi Shmuel Munkes burned to the ground.
Reb Shmuel was out of town at the time. The next day, as the chassid stood at the pile of ashes and smoldering embers which was all that remained of everything he owned, he lifted his eyes heavenward and began to recite: “Blessed are you G-d….”
Those who stood there with him expected to hear Reb Shmuel conclude with the words “…the True Judge,” pronouncing the blessing which a Jew recites in response to a tragedy. Instead, Reb Shmuel recited one of the daily morning blessings, “…who has not made me a gentile.”
Noticing the looks of astonishment on the faces of the bystanders, Rabbi Shmuel explained: “Were I not to have been born a Jew, my god would have gone up in smoke together with my home. But since the Almighty, in His great kindness, has chosen to make me a Jew, the G-d whom I serve is alive and well….”
Adapted from the teachings of the Lubavitcher Rebbe by Yanki Tauber