14 Cheswan 5784 – 29 October 2023
Once, in a village nestled amid rolling hills, there lived a wise man whose wisdom was revered throughout the land. As he grew older, he felt a deep sense of responsibility to pass on his knowledge to his sons and family. One day, sensing that his time on this Earth was drawing to a close, he summoned his loved ones to gather around him.
With a faint but determined voice, the wise man spoke, “My dear sons and family, I have a vital lesson to impart to you before I depart this world. Listen closely, for it is a lesson that will guide your lives.” His family leaned in, eager to receive his wisdom.
“You must water trees,” he began. His words hung in the air, and his family exchanged puzzled glances. Then, he continued, “You may also earn a living in other ways, but you must always be careful to water trees.”
The wise man’s family remained puzzled, unsure of what he meant. Then, he explained, “The term ‘trees’ represents two things. First, it signifies the importance of Torah study, as it is written in Proverbs 3:18. Just as a tree requires water to grow, we must always engage in the study of Torah, no matter how busy we may be.”
His family began to grasp the significance of his message, but the wise man was not finished. “Secondly,” he continued, “trees also symbolize people, just as it is written in Deuteronomy 20:19, ‘For man is a tree of the field.’ It is essential that we provide people with the water of Torah, whether by teaching them or by setting a good example through our own behavior.”
As the wise man’s family absorbed his teachings, they realized that he was urging them to not only nurture their own growth through Torah study but also to enrich the lives of others by sharing their knowledge and values.
With these final words, the wise man closed his eyes, leaving his family with a profound lesson to carry forward in their lives. They understood that to truly honor his legacy, they must continue to water both the trees of wisdom within themselves and the trees of humanity, ensuring that knowledge and goodness would continue to flourish for generations to come.
By Angelique Sijbolts
The Lost Princess & Other Kabbalistic Tales of Rebbe Nachman of Breslov: Translation by Rabbi Areyh Kaplan – Story “The Cripple”.
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