Inspired by penultimate sermon of Rabbi Mathew Marko 23 April 2022 at Beth Israel Synagogue
In life everything is temporary. In fact, life itself is tempory. In between birth and death we all experience the roller-coaster of life. When life strikes us with setbacks, when we are down and everything seems grim, we need to remember that this also shall pass.
Do you feel sometimes that life overwhelms you with stress, worries, mounting “to do” list, demanding bosses, clients, family members, responsibilities, bills, and challenges? This legend is for you.
Published on October 21, 2014 by Avi Z Liran
During the festive Passover meal with his ministers, King Solomon teased Benaiah son of Jehoiada, his arrogant Chief of Army.
“Benaiah, I was told that there is a special ring that has a special power. It can change the mood of a person. A sad person becomes happy when wearing it and a happy person becomes sad. I know that you of all people in the kingdom can find the ring. Would you be able to find this ring and bring it to me until the eve of Sukkot eve, that is 6 months from now?”
“If it exists anywhere on earth, your majesty, I will find it and bring it to you” replied Benaiah.
King Solomon smiled as he knew that no such ring existed, but he wanted to give his minister a taste of humility.
Time passed and Benaiah sent soldiers and messengers throughout the kingdom, examined records, consulted with elders; yet he could not find even a hint of the existence of the magic ring. Spring passed and so did summer. The last harvest of the year, and with it the Succoth festival, was approaching. Then came eve of Sukkot day. With only a few hours to go before the deadline, Benaiah was wandering in the streets of Jerusalem. The sun was setting casting a golden light on the city which until today all its buildings are made of stone. All the merchants were busy with the last sale and prepared to close their stalls. In desperation, he turned to an old silversmith.
“Have you by any chance heard of a magic ring that makes the happy person forget his joy and the broken-hearted person forget his sorrows?” asked Benaiah. The silversmith listened carefully and smiled. He took a plain silver ring from his old and dusty box and engraved something on it. When Benaiah read the words on the ring, his face lighted up as he knew he had found the right ring. “This is the ring!” he cried and gave the poor jeweler all the money in his purse. “Come to the palace and you shall have more,” he added, “for I cannot thank you enough.”
The sun had set. The time for the holiday dinner arrived. That night the palace was full of guests ready to celebrate with the king.
“Well, my friend,” said Solomon, “Have you found a ring that can make a happy man sad and a sad man happy?” Everyone who knew about the search for the impossible ring laughed and Solomon himself smiled.
But to everyone’s surprise, Benaiah held up a ring and declared, “Here it is your majesty! I found a ring. It has three Hebrew letters engraved on it: Gimel, Zayin, Yod. Then he whispered the meaning of these initials in the king’s ear.
As soon as Solomon heard the meaning of the inscription, the smile vanished from his face. He looked at the guests filling the banquet hall, the tables covered with shining serving pieces, silver goblets, and the finest food one can find. Tears rolled down his eyes. He felt sad. The entire hall was in total silence. A ring that makes the king cry?
Then King Solomon looked at the ring again and started to smile again then laughed so hard infecting the entire palace with giggles and laughter. Everyone wanted to know the meaning of the initials.
The King revealed to his guests what was written on the ring: “The three letters are ג,ז,י represented three words: גם זה יעבור, Gam zeh ya’avor”. It means in English: “This too shall pass.”
In life everything is temporary. In fact, life itself is tempory. In between birth to death we all experience the roller-coaster of life. When life strikes us with setbacks, when we are down and everything seems grim, we need to remember that this also shall pass. Even the worst of the storms, the Tsunami and earthquake do not last. Sometimes the hurricane season had already ended and we keep on behaving like we are still residing at the eye of the storm. Sometimes, we mistakenly label rewarding activities such as reading a bedtime story to our kids, feeding them, playing with them as a chore, only to realize later on that those were the some of the best times of our lives that passed so quickly, but we forgot to enjoy it.
The trick is to be present during good times and savor every moment of joy. When everything works, appreciate it, be grateful and humble and most importantly, remember that other people might be on experiencing stormy weather and reach out to them with friendship, and generosity.
During our “rainy days” remember that even the worst of storms passes and blue sky will come again. Use the wisdom of the ring to have hope and faith and take actions to take shelter and persevere.
King Solomon had everything – power, women, and wealth. Towards the end of his life, he realized that holding on to things is an illusion as they are not the source of happiness. So he turned to a spiritual search and wrote in Ecclesiastes: [1:2, 9]
” The words of the Teacher, son of David, king in Jerusalem: “Meaningless! Meaningless!” says the Teacher. “Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless.” … “What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.”
Working globally from Singapore, TEDx (IDEASx) global speaker Avi Liran (Economist, MBA and basketball coach) is the Chief Delighting Officer of www.deliveringdelight.com. He is is the originator of the creative, inspiring and entertaining keynote talks and edutainment programs Delivering Delight, helping organizations worldwide to tap into their Inner Delight to Lead With Values and Purpose so they effectively cultivate a Delightful Organisational Culture (DOC) that nurtures Delightful Employee Experience (DEX) which empowers Delightful Customer Experience (DCX).