I just finished Buber’s two volume Tales of the Chasidm. Here are a few favorites.
When Mendel was in Kotzk, the rabbi of that town asked him: “Where did you learn the art of silence?” He was on the verge of answering the question, but then he changed his mind, and practiced his art.
Once Rabbi Bunam was praying at an inn. People jostled and pushed him, but he did not go into his room. Later he said to his disciples: “Sometimes it seems impossible to pray in a certain place and one seeks out another place. But that is not the right thing to do. For the place we have quitted cries out mournfully: ‘Why did you refuse to make your devotions here with me? If you met with obstacles, it was a sign that it was up to you to redeem me.'”
Rabbi Hanokh said: “The other nations too believe that there are two worlds. They too say: ‘In the other world.’ The difference is this: They think that the two are separate and severed, but Israel professes that the two worlds are essentially one and shall, indeed, become one.
The rabbi of Zans used to tell this story about himself: “In my youth when I was fired with the love of God, I thought I would convert the whole world to God. But soon I discovered that it would be quite enough to convert the people who lived in my town, and I tried for a long time, but did not succeed. Then I realized that my program was still much too ambitious, and I concentrated on the persons in my own household. But I could not convert them either. Finally it dawned on me: I must work upon myself, so that I may give true service to God. But I did not accomplish even this.”