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Jewish Folklore - A Story

When I was in Israel for the first time many years ago, there was a jeweler in the Old City of Jerusalem who told a story to all those who visited his shop. The story stayed with me, as it stays with everyone who hears it, and serves as a reminder that life can change in an instant. The story inspires us to gratitude in moments of good times and provides hope through moments of difficult times.

It is said that King Solomon had a harmonious kingdom. His kingdom was so peaceful, in part, because of one particular servant who always did everything exactly as he was asked. Soon, however, the other servants became jealous, and the harmony was disrupted. In order to restore peace to his kingdom, the King decided to embarrass his faithful servant in front of everyone else. He would provide a task that would surely make his servant fail.

King Solomon called in this servant and said, “I would like you to find me a ring, which -when you are happy and you put it on - you become sad and when you are said and you put it on, you become happy.”
“No problem”, the servant replied, “I’ll have it for you in a few days.”
“No, no, no,” responded the King, “Passover is a few weeks away. I would like you to present it to me at the Seder.”

Fine. The servant organized search groups – one went to the north, one to the south, one to the east, and one to the west. He told them to ask everyone they ran into if they’d heard of such a ring or knew where he might get one. Weeks went by, and each group came back empty-handed – with absolutely nothing.

The servant began to search more diligently. Soon, however, it was days before the Seder was to take place. Still, he had no ring. Then it was one day before he was to present the King with the ring, and he had still not discovered such a ring. The servant became depressed and upset. What was he going to do?

The servant began to wander the streets and found himself in the slums of Jerusalem. It was here that he saw a small jewelry shop. At first, he passed by this lowly shop, but - he turned back and went in. “What could I possibly have to lose?” he thought.

He went in and told the jeweler what he was looking for. “Sure! Sure!” exclaimed the Jeweler, “I can make such a ring.” He dug into a small drawer filled with trinkets and bangles and chains and whatnot. He pulled out a ring, engraved something upon it, and handed it to the servant. The servant glumly put it in his pocket, thanked the jeweler, and left the little shop.

He did not have much hope that this little ring would do the magic the King had requested. With his head low, he walked home – hoping that the King would forget his request from a few weeks before.

The night of the Seder arrived. The King - a huge smile on his face - called the servant to present the ring. The servant, sad and dejected, approached the King. “Did you get the ring?” the King asked.
“I hope so,” the servant replied. The servant anxiously handed the King the ring from his pocket.

The King put on the ring, looked at it, and – immediately – the booming smile on his face was wiped away. The servant, upon seeing the King’s shifting emotions, began to smile. He had achieved his task! The King had read the inscription on the ring which said “Ga’am Zeh Yavor” or “This, too, shall pass”.

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Content copyright © 2013 by Lisa Pinkus. All rights reserved.
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