Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Watch your tongue!

The king of Persia once fell ill and his doctors prescribed the milk of a lioness. One brave man accepted the challenge of obtaining the milk. He took with him ten goats and went on his way. Nearing the lion's habitat, he stopped at a distance and sent a goat towards the lioness, which she quickly caught and devoured. The next day, he came a bit closer and gave her another goat. After ten days, he was able to approach and even pet the lioness! He pet her, took some milk in peace, and left.

On his trip returning home, while napping, he dreamt that his limbs were arguing with each other about who had been the most influential in acquiring the milk. The feet said, "Without us, you would not have gotten here," the hands claimed, "We took the milk," and the mind took the credit for the idea. The tongue then spoke up, "If I hadn't suggested the idea, it would never have happened." The other limbs laughed, "How do you dare compare yourself to us?! You're not an active limb like we are!" The tongue responded, "You will yet see that I control you."

Finally arriving at the palace, the man eagerly said to the king, "Your majesty! Here is the milk of a dog!" The king became furious and ordered that the man be hanged. As he was being led to the gallows, the limbs began to 'cry' and the tongue said, "I will save you and you will see that I am in charge." The man pleaded to be taken back to the king and he then told the king that truthfully, the milk had been taken from a lioness. This was checked out and he was subsequently freed. The limbs all surrendered to the tongue, "Now we see that indeed, 'life and death is dependent on the tongue.'"

What happens to our prayers?

The sages say: "G-d does not reject the prayers of a multitude."

However, it seems to be that this is not so! Every day, three times a day, the Jewish people pray eighteen blessings, including many prayers for redemption. "Sound the great Shofar...Restore our judges...Return us to Jerusalem..." And yet, for close to 2000 years we are still in exile!

The Shaloh Hakodesh offers the following explanation: "G-d hears our prayers and the angels fashion them into a crown for Him. However, He does not necessarily carry out the request exactly as we asked. The prayer reached its destination and the reward is still to come."

In other words, the prayer has its effect up above even if we don't see immediate results down here below.

However, the Lubavitcher Rebbe explains that since our primary existence is our spiritual soul and not our physical body, the spiritual effect is not incidental, but rather, it is the priority.

At the same time though, when we pray, we don't have in mind a spiritual effect. When we ask for redemption, obviously we are asking for a redemption that will be felt in the physical realm. Our sages have established the prayers for redemption as part of the daily blessings. Therefore, it is understood that the blessings will be fulfilled - otherwise, they would be vain blessings, and we are forbidden to use G-d's name in vain.

How then will these blessings be carried out? G-d will link our prayers to the prayers of previous generations. In their merit, we will experience the immediate redemption.

Creat a wonderful day!

There was once a great and powerful king. His most precious treasure was a diamond –- the most flawless diamond in the world.

One day, at a royal party, the king flaunted his diamond, passing it from guest to guest as it rested on a soft velvet pillow. Abruptly, the diamond fell and became deeply scratched.

The king summoned his jewelers to correct the blemish. However, they informed him that they could not remove the blemish without cutting the surface, thus reducing the diamond's value.

Finally, a craftsman appeared and assured the king that he could fix the diamond without reducing its value.

Several days later, the artist returned with the diamond. The king was astonished to see that the ugly scratch had disappeared. In its place a beautiful rose was engraved.

The scratch had become the stem of an exquisite flower.

And so too in our lives, a scratch can become the stem of something beautiful.

Actually, the stem did not become anything, it was transformed by the work and skill and insight of the artist.

This is a matter of inner work. The ability to see damage and negative attributes as potential for beauty and positive expression is more than perspective, it is a fundamental transformation of what, why and how we think about every detail of every event.