A king’s son was once walking along the way, when he reached a fork in the road. Suddenly, a band of thieves attacked him, intent on murdering him. Much to his good fortune, however, a pauper dressed in rags happened to be walking along the road at that very moment. When he saw the thieves, he gathered up his courage and in a display of great strength, vanquished them and saved the king’s son.
Upon hearing of the pauper’s heroics, the king had him summoned before him. When the pauper arrived, the king thanked him and proclaimed:
“As a reward for having saved my son, I hereby permit you to spend an entire day in the royal treasury; you may take anything that your heart desires.”
When the gates of the royal treasury were opened for the pauper, he joyously fell upon the massive piles of gold and diamonds, and began to gather all that he could.
When evening settled in and the pauper exited the royal treasury he had undergone a complete transformation. In one day, he had gone from being a destitute pauper to an extraordinarily wealthy man. The next day, this former pauper went into business, and in a short while he became eminently successful. He had now become one of the wealthiest men in the land, and he completely forgot about his former life of poverty and deprivation.
Every year, the former pauper staged a lavish feast on the day that he had been blessed with the good fortune of entering the royal treasury. He invited all of his friends and relatives to the feast, and it was a custom that lasted for many years.
One year in the middle of the feast, the wealthy man turned to his friends and asked, “Which day of my life do you think was the happiest of all for me?”
“It must be this very day” responded the guests. “This day on which you have made a feast for all of your friends must be the happiest day of your life! After all, on this day your palace is decorated, your servants surround you, and all of the distinguished individuals in the land accord you great honor!”
“You are mistaken,” said the wealthy man. “While this day is certainly one of great joy it is but a remembrance of the day on which I was remade, literally transformed from a lowly beggar in ragged clothing to a man possessing enormous wealth. That day was the happiest of my life.
“I spent that entire day,” he continued, “inside the royal treasury. I felt neither hunger nor weariness; rather, it was as if my complete being was focused on only one goal — amassing the valuables that lay inside the treasury. The more valuables I amassed, the more joy I reaped. I have yet to experience a happier day than that one.”
So it is with us, the Holy One, blessed be He grants each person life as a gift. Throughout his life, man has the ability to amass as many mitzvos and good deeds as his heart desires.
May all your tales end with Shalom (peace)