If I Were a Rich Man……

Recently I engaged in an interesting conversation with a fellow Jew who is a successful businessperson.  He admitted that some of the most unhappy people he knows are fellow Jews who are also very wealthy.  They thought that earning money would bring significance to their lives.  They were wrong.    Money brings comfort, not meaning.

I shared with him the following story.

The great Jewish philosopher, Martin Buber, tells the story of a rabbi living in Cracow, Poland who lived in great poverty, but whose faith in God remained unshaken.  And then he had a dream.

In the dream he heard a voice telling him that he would find a great treasure in the city of Prague, under the bridge that leads to the royal palace.  Initially he paid no attention to the dream, but it kept coming back, night after night.  Finally, the rabbi set out for Prague and the bridge.

When the rabbi arrived, he saw that the bridge was guarded by the king’s soldiers so there was no way for him to dig for the treasure.  And so each day he went to the bridge and kept walking around it, hoping for some inspiration.

Finally, the captain of the king’s guards asked him what he was doing and the rabbi told him the dream.  Hearing this story, the captain began laughing and said: “For a silly dream you traveled all this distance?  I do not believe in such things.  I recently had a dream in which a voice told me to go to Cracow, to the home of a certain rabbi, and there I would find a great treasure buried under the stove.  Such nonsense!”

The rabbi thanked the captain and immediately he left for Cracow and dug for the treasure in his own home.  And there he found it.

A fairy tale?  No.  Martin Buber was not interested in telling fairy tales.

This story has a moral. People are searching for spiritual meaning within their lives.

And yet, some of our fellow Jews often fail to realize that the treasure is at home, in Judaism.


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