A person had three friends. One friend was truly beloved, a second was also loved, but the third was often taken for granted. One day the man lost everything he owned. The king commanded him to appear before him immediately. The poor man was very frightened, wondering why the king would want to speak to him. In fear, he called upon each of his three friends to go with him to the king.
First, he turned to his closet friend, and was extremely disappointed when this friend said it would be impossible to go with him to visit the king.
He then turned to his second friend. “Will you go with me to the king?” This friend said, “I can go with you only up to the gates of the palace, but that is as far as I can go.”
Extremely sad, the man then turned to her third friend, the one to whom he had taken for granted. This friend said with assurance, “I will accompany you, but first I will go directly to the palace myself and plead for you with the king.”
The first friend reflects a person’s wealth, which cannot accompany you to the grave, as it is written, “Riches profit not in the day of reckoning.” The second friend represents a person’s relatives, who can only follow you to the grave site, as it is written, “No person can redeem his brother from death.” The third and last friend represents the good deeds of a person’s life. These never desert you and even precede you to plead your cause before the King of all Kings, as it is written, “And your righteousness shall go before you.”
Adapted from Pirke de Rabbi Eliezer
Tonight will be the first day of religious services of the season at Philmont. It is going to be a wonderful summer filled with adventure and discovery. May we all collect many memories and hopes. Everything is ready in the Jewish chapel and the Ner Tamid (Everlating Light) is lit for the next 3 months and I look forward to speaking to many of the children of Ishmael, Esau and Jacob throughout the summer.