The Mishnaic sage, Rabbi Yehoshua ben Alam, was once told in a dream, "Rejoice, because you and Nanas the butcher will sit together in Gan Eden in Heaven."
Rabbi Yehoshua woke up alarmed: "Woe is me! My entire life I have always maintained a state of awe of Heaven, I have toiled only in Torah, never walked four cubits (2 meters) without tzitzis or tefillin, and have eighty worthy students. Yet all of my accomplishments are only equal to those of this butcher?"
He promptly sent a message to his students that he would not enter the Study Hall until he ascertained who this butcher was. He trudged from village to village asking about Nanas the butcher until he finally arrived in his town. The townsmen were surprised that the tzadik was interested in this ordinary individual. Nevertheless, they set out to bring him, but he refused to come, unable to believe that the great sage was really asking to meet him. Rabbi Yehoshua had no choice but to go visit the butcher at his shop.
When he arrived at the shop, the butcher fell on his face and exclaimed, "Why is today so special that the Crown of Israel has come to visit his servant?"
Rabbi Yehoshua told him that he wanted to hear about his conduct.
The man replied, "My master! I work as a butcher. Also, I have two elderly parents who cannot take care of themselves, so every day I dress them, feed them and bathe them myself."
Hearing this, Rebbi Yehoshua kissed his forehead and said, "My son! Fortunate are you and fortunate is your lot! And how fortunate is my lot that I have been found worthy of being your partner in Heaven!"
Source: Lma'an Yishme'u #230 - based on Seder HaDorot
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