Once upon a time, not so long ago there is a boy named Yaakov. Yaakov was very excited because he was now in bais medrash and was able to learn Torah all day long. Yaakov noticed that where Mr. Rabbi Head Principal Rosh Yeshiva was sitting, above his head there was a light bulb that was burnt out. At first Yaakov didn’t pay any attention to it. But over the weeks and months that passed, Yaakov noticed that when other light bulbs burnt out, they were changed. However, the light bulb above Mr. Rabbi Head Principal Rosh Yeshiva, that light bulb was never changed.
One day Yaakov decided he was going to ask somebody about the light bulb so he asked his rebbi, Rabbi Shaya. ‘Rebbi’ said Yaakov, ‘why is the light bulb above Mr. Rabbi Head Principal Rosh Yeshiva never changed? It’s been burnt out for months!’
‘Ah..’ said Rabbi Shaya, ‘ that is a very good question. Let me tell you a story about it..
‘Once upon a time not so long ago, there was a boy named Daniel who was a new boy in the bais medrash. Daniel was a very nice boy and everybody got along with Daniel and he was everybody’s friend. However, Daniel was very short, well, really short. Nobody else paid any attention to this, it didn’t bother anybody and it didn’t affect anything. But, Daniel was very self-conscious and aware of how short he was.
One day Mr. Rabbi Head Principal Rosh Yeshiva was sitting in his seat learning Gemara. All of a sudden, the light bulb above his head burnt out.
Mr. Rabbi Head Principal Rosh Yeshiva looked up and saw that Daniel was walking down the aisle. He asked Daniel, ‘Daniel are you busy right now?’
Daniel answered, ‘No Rebbi, what can I do for you?’
‘Well’ Mr. Rabbi Head Principal Rosh Yeshiva said, ‘I would really appreciate it if you could please go get the stepladder and get a light bulb and change the light bulb that burnt out here. I would ask the caretaker but I’m sure he’s very busy so if you don’t mind I would really appreciate if you could help me.’
‘Sure no problem!’ said Daniel ’I’ll be happy to help’.
Daniel got that the stepladder and the light bulb and went to go change the light bulb. Mr. Rabbi Head Principal Rosh Yeshiva was already engrossed in his learning again and did not even notice that Daniel was there. Daniel got onto the stepladder and went to go reach to take out the burnt out light bulb, but he couldn’t reach it! He was too short! Daniel all of a sudden got very embarrassed and his face turned red. He tried stepping on his tiptoes to reach the bulb, but it was still too high for him. Just then the doors to the bais medrash opened and in walked the caretaker, Mr. Schlamazale.
‘Daniel,’ said Mr. Schlamazale ‘what are you doing? Let me help you, since you are too short and can’t reach.’ Poor Daniel turned such a deep shade of red as he thought everybody was looking at him.
Mr. Schlamazale when to get up on the stepladder and at first he missed the step and fell over! Then, he got back up and tried again. But this time, he twisted and Mr. Schlamazale went flying through the air and landed with a big CRASH on the ground!
The loud sound made Mr. Rabbi Head Principal Rosh Yeshiva look up. Mr. Rabbi Head Principal Rosh Yeshiva looked up and saw Mr. Schlamazale lying on the ground tangled in the ladder.
‘I’m okay!’ Mr. Schlamazale said.
‘I don’t understand how this happened,’ said Mr. Rabbi Head Principal Rosh Yeshiva ‘as you are always so careful and not clumsy.’
Then Mr. Rabbi Head Principal Rosh Yeshiva noticed Daniel standing there and looking very red and embarrassed. Just then, Mr. Rabbi Head Principal Rosh Yeshiva realized what happened..!
‘Oh my goodness!’ said Mr. Rabbi Head Principal Rosh Yeshiva, ‘Daniel I am so sorry. I hope you can forgive me. When I asked you to change the light bulb, I didn’t realize how embarrassing it was for you! I never ever ever meant to embarrass you. I didn’t think about it I am so sorry! ‘
‘It’s OK,’ said Daniel ‘of course I forgive you’.
‘You see,’ said Rabbi Shaya, ‘Mr. Rabbi Head Principal Rosh Yeshiva decided to leave that light bulb burnt out. That way it would be a reminder to himself and everyone in the bais medrash, that whenever we ask something of somebody, or say something to somebody, we have to take into account if it might embarrass them or make them feel uncomfortable. Because you never want to embarrass a fellow Jew.
‘And that is why Yaakov’ concluded Rabbi Shaya, ‘the light bulb has never been changed in all these years.’