THE RABBI OF APT
Once the Rabbi of Apt came to a city in which two men competed for the privilege of giving him lodgings. Both houses were equally roomy and comfortable and in both households all the rules were observed with pious exactitude. But one of the men was in ill repute for his many love affairs and other sinful doings, and he knew quite well that he was weak and thought little of himself. The other man, however, no one in the whole community could accuse of the slightest breach of conduct. With proud and, stately steps he walked abroad, thoroughly aware of his spotless purity.
The rabbi selected the house of the man with a bad reputation. When he was asked for the reason for his choice, he answered, "Concerning the proud, God says, 'I and he cannot live together in this world.' And if God himself, blessed be he, cannot share a room with the proud, then how could I? We read in the Torah, on the other hand, '. . . who dwelleth with them in the midst of their uncleannesses'. And if God takes lodgings there, why shouldn't I?"
A Hasidic Tale