How far do you have to go to be good?
Rabbi Safra was a diamond merchant. He was also one of the leading sages in Babylon about 1700 years ago who, on one occasion, acquired a particularly large and valuable stone.
Hearing of Rabbi Safra’s acquisition, another gem merchant approached him one day after prayer services and offered to buy the stone at what he considered a fair price.
The merchant did not realize that Rabbi Safra had not yet finished reciting his own silent prayers, which he refused to interrupt even at the risk of losing the deal.
Receiving no answer, the merchant concluded that he had offended the rabbi by not offering enough for the stone, and so he increased his price. When the rabbi still did not reply, the merchant raised his offer even higher.
Finally, Rabbi Safra concluded his prayers. “I will sell you the stone,” he told the merchant. “But I will sell it to you at the first price you offered.”
“I don’t understand,” the merchant replied.