A wealthy Jewish merchant treats a poor old man with rudeness and disdain as they travel together on a train. When they arrive at their common destination, the merchant finds the station thronged with pious Jews waiting in ecstatic joy to greet the arrival of one of the holiest rabbis in Europe, and learns to his chagrin that the old man in his compartment is that saintly rabbi.
Embarrassed at his disgraceful behavior and distraught that he missed a golden opportunity to speak in privacy to a wise and holy man, the merchant pushes his way through the crowd to find the old man. When he reaches him, he begs the rabbi’s forgiveness and requests his blessing.
The old rabbi looks at him and replies, “I cannot forgive you. To receive forgiveness you must go out and beg it from every poor old person in the world.”