There are many levels of faith one must face daily. As one travels his path, the world affects his faith. Sometimes one uses their beliefs to insulate themselves from the world. This does not build faith.
There once was a king who loved to go hunting. One day the king gathered his friends and advisers to go hunting. They followed many trails and paths through the woodland.
In late afternoon skies dark and the skies were streaked by lightning and the thunder roared as heavy rain fell in torrents. The wind blew strong the king’s friends and advisers scattered in all directions leaving the king alone. The king was afraid as he had never been alone before, but he was determined to find his way out of the forest. So he began to walk. He had no idea where he was going and was quite lost.
The day turned to night and the night creatures came out. The king was terrified as he had never been in the dark by himself before, but he kept walking through the forest. After some hours he saw the distance a light any hiked toward it as he got closer he saw it was a tumbledown shack.
The king went to the door and knocked. The door was opened quickly by a middle-aged man who invited the wet tired stranger into his house. He did not know the stranger was the King.
The man ushered him into a roaring fire to warm himself. The king stood by that fire until he was quite dry.
The man came to his guest and said, “I don’t have much, but I can offer you kasha.” The king ate the kasha, a tasted finer that any dish served to him in the palace. He savored each spoonful.
As the king finished eating, the man noted, “You must be tired. You sleep in my bed and I will sleep upon the floor.” The bed was nothing but a mattress stuffed with straw. This simple, plain bed was so comfortable that the king had the soundest sleep he’d ever had.
The storm passed sometime during the night. The skies were clear and the wind was calm.
The king was awakened by the smell of cooking food and fresh brewed tea. He ate and sipped the tea and felt the calm and happy.
About midmorning there was a knock at the door of the tumbledown shack. The man answered the door and the king overheard an advisor at the door.
“Have you seen the King?” No, I have not.” Will you help us find the king for this is very grave for the kingdom?” I will help by all means said the man.
Hearing this, the king came to the door and told the advisor he was safe. The advisor told the king,”Your majesty I have a carriage for you, guards and an escort to bring you back to the palace.” “I won’t go with you” “Your highness the kingdom can not endure without you.” I will not go with you” Your majesty the throne can not remain empty.” “Go back to the palace and I will see you there”
The king returned to his tea and conversation with the man. He left the tumbledown shack and returned to his palace in the man’s buckboard. They rode into the capital city and up to the very gates of the palace.
The king insisted the man come into the palace and wait by the throne room doors. He quickly ran and changed into his royal robes. He went into the throne room and beckoned that the doors be opened. The man entered the great hall and began to walk toward the king and the king waved him forward. He came before the first step in front of the throne and there were whispers and chatter throughout the room. The king waved him forward, and he went up to the step. The whispers became louder, but the king waved the man closer. The man went up to the second step and the king asked him to stand before him on the highest step before him and the king told him to stand by its right hand.
One of the king’s advisers burst forth and exclaimed:
“Who is this man that he should stand at the king’s right hand?”
“He is my friend” the king answered.
“He has no noble blood, education, wealth were standing. He is a nobody. He’s a beggar and his clothes are an offense to the king! Why should he stand at the king’s right hand?” The adviser responded.
The noise became louder as everyone was talking. The king’s stared from one side of the throne room the other and silence fell throughout the room
The king began:
“you who call yourselves my friends and advisers scattered and left me by myself because of some wind, rain, thunder and lightning. This man knew not who I was yet he treated me royally. He would treat any one who came to his door with the same honor, dignity and respect. This indeed is a true friend was he is not afraid to act upon what is in heart.”
No one dared to speak a word in the throne room that day and the king continued, “From this day forward you who call yourselves my friends and advisers are banished from the palace.
The king appointed the man to be his only adviser.
So it is with those in relation to faith. There are those who are very exacting in their fulfillment of religious obligations and rituals but lack faith. Therein is the issue, they become so involved the mechanics of religion they take faith for granted.
Faith can only be manifest to those who are simple and humble in their beliefs. For they grow stronger every day in their faith.
By doing mitzvahs (religious deeds) from the heart and through one’s awe of Hashem the words “he who does not exalt himself will be exalted by Hashem.” (Mo’ed Katan 28) will come true.