In our self-righteousness, sometimes we lose sight of how we inadvertently push the people we claim to love away. Here is a wise tale for those who struggle with this issue. I rewrote the parable to give it a more Jewish flavor, but the message is truly universal. Letting go of anger is never easy; its toxic poison blinds our soul from seeing reality as it truly is. More often than not, we get stuck in anger; we want to be “right,” but the truth is more complicated, and sometimes even too painful to admit. . . . But if we look into our souls, we will hear a voice of purity that speaks out to us–I believe that voice of conscience is God’s calling card. All we need to do is say, “Hineni,” “Here I am ready to listen and learn.
Originally, I gave this sermon at a Yom Kippur Kol Nidrei Service, and I decided that it was time to post it as a meditation for the sad soul because of a good friend of mine who is going through some difficult times in a relationship that recently died. I wish him well …
“The Parable about the Magic Eyes”
In the Hassidic village of Meseritz, there lived a long thin baker named Jacob—a righteous man, with a long thin chin and a long thin nose. Jacob was so upright that he seemed to spray righteousness from his thin lips over everyone who came near him; so the people of Meseritz preferred to stay away.
Jacob’s wife, Rachel, was beautiful and stunning. Everyone wanted to be in her soft and radiant presence
Rachel respected her righteous husband, and loved Jacob too, as much as he allowed her; but her heart ached for human affection and attention, for her husband Jacob was too busy to notice
And from this seed of sadness and loneliness, she strayed.
One early morning, having worked all night long in the bakery, Jacob came home and found a stranger in his bedroom lying in Rachel’s arms.
Soon Rachel became the gossip of the town; as everyone whispered her name with contempt and shock.
Everyone assumed that Jacob would quickly divorce Rachel, for after all, he was a righteous man. But to everyone’s surprise, Jacob remained committed in his relationship to Rachel, and said that forgave her as the biblical prophet Hosea forgave his wife for straying.
But in his heart of hearts, however, Jacob could not forgive Rachel for bringing shame to his name, no could he forget. Whenever he thought about her, his feelings toward her were angry and hard; he despised her as if she were a common whore. When it came right down to it, he hated her for betraying him after he had been so good and so faithful a husband to her.
Jacob only “pretended” to “forgive” Rachel so that he could punish her with his righteous mercy.
But Jacob’s hypocrisy did not sit well in Heaven. Continue reading “Overcoming Infidelity–Learning to Forgive”