Posted on September 17th, 2009 by Rabbi
It is told that the king became enraged at a certain wise physician and gave orders to his servants to put him in prison in a place that was as narrow as the grave. At his order they put chains on him and an iron yoke on his neck. At the royal command they stripped him of his clothes and dressed him in rags and tatters made of the coarsest wool. The king ordered that the doctor should receive each day some barley bread with a spoonful of salt and a pitcher of water. The king further commanded the prison guards to listen to his words and report them to him. For this doctor was very wise and said nothing that was not full of wisdom.
He stayed a long time in prison without uttering a word, keeping silent. In due course the king instructed the kinsfolk and acquaintances of that sage to visit him in prison and talk to him, for maybe he would speak to them. So they went to him and said:
“Good master, we see your distress in this prison where you are yoked and shackled at your neck and legs, and how you hunger and thirst in your nakedness and are surrounded by all this torment. Yet we are astonished at your bright face which has not changed, while you have not grown lean and you are as strong as ever!”
The doctor looked at them for a moment or two and then answered them:
“I took seven drugs with me and mixed them together and from them I have made myself a potion of which I drink a little every day. That is what has kept me strong and unchanged.” “Tell us what those drugs are,” said they, “and if anyone of us should suffer such grievous torments as these we shall make a potion of them so that he should not perish.”
“The first drug,” said he, “is faith in the Holy and Blessed One who can deliver me from many evils and troubles, and He will deliver me from these and from the king, as it says in the Book of Proverbs (21:1): ‘Streams of water and the heart of the king are in the hand of the Lord to turn whichever way He desires.’ The second drug is hope. The third drug is: My knowledge that my sin caused this and I was trapped by my transgression, and I was the cause. That being so, why should I complain? The fourth drug is: If I do not wait patiently, what shall I do instead? Is there any other choice? If the king decrees that I must die, why should I die before my time? The fifth drug is: I know that it is for my own benefit that the Holy and Blessed One causes me to suffer in order to erase my transgressions in this world so that I may enjoy life in the world to come. The sixth drug is: I rejoice in my portion and give thanks and offer praises on account of it, since I might have been in even greater distress. Though I am chained and shackled it might have been worse, for they could have beaten me with whips or other torments. If I have barley bread to eat, it would have been possible not to receive bread at all, neither of wheat nor even of barley. They give me a measure of water, but they might not have given me any water at all. Though my garb is of coarsest wool, they could have left me naked. And the seventh drug is: I know that the salvation of the Lord can come in the twinkling of an eye since He is gracious and merciful, long-suffering and full of kindness and truth to him who can repent of wrongdoing; and He, may He be blessed, will deliver me from my distress and settle with my foes.”
May you be blessed and sealed for a sweet year of success, happiness and good things