Posted on November 24th, 2009 by Rabbi
A ship was sailing across the seas to distant lands. The sailors and merchants had lost their way and were wandering aimlessly at sea, tired, hungry and thirsty, confined to the ship. Every so often, they caught sight of a large island there in the middle of the sea. It was the season when the everything comes alive, and all kinds of good trees and grasses and flowers, including roses and violets were seen on the island. Sweet water was found on the beautiful and well-shaded island.
The ship’s captain, crew and passengers approached the island and went ashore to delight in its trees and rest in their shade. They ate from the fruit of the trees, drank the sweet water, and delighted in the sweet fragrance. They then left and returned to the ship to continue the voyage and find their way at sea.
One man among them decided not to leave even though the others strongly pleaded with him, he thought, “Where, anywhere else in the world, could I find such a place of delight, a paradise the likes of which even kings do not possess?” When they saw that he absolutely refused to leave, they continued on without him, found their way home.
That one man remained there, eating of the island’s fruits, drinking of the sweet water, and delighting in the marvelous fragrance of the spices. But when winter approached, the leaves of all the trees fell to the ground, as did their fruits and similarly all the spices. The springs also dried up. Only bare trees remained, affording him neither shade nor protection from either the dry hot days or the night frost. And he died there, hungry and empty-handed, having found nothing but untold distress.
So are we in this world like that ship sailing on the high seas. Like a lost ship at sea, we are unsure of our direction and know not to whom to turn or where we are going. In this world, which resembles such a sea, we discover a large island with all kinds of delights and pleasures, more than one can ever count.