middot equanimity stories fountain of youth

fountain of youth

Written by  rav rafael

art-coachOnce, the Baal Shem Tov went to spend Shabbat in Polnoye, the hometown of his student, the "Toldot", Rabbi Yaacov Yosef of Polnoye. The Baal Shem Tov was traveling in quite a fancy carriage and a resident of the town, a well known instigator, used the opportunity to disparage the Baal Shem Tov for what he deemed unwarranted opulence.

The Baal Shem Tov however, was unmoved by his taunts. "Let me relate to you a parable", he offered:

A king once searched the world over for the fountain of youth - an elixir that would guarantee him immortality. A wise man came before the king and offered him a remedy. He must absolutely remove from himself any trace of arrogance, and conduct himself with utter humility. The suggestion of the wise man found favor in the king's eyes and he immediately began its implementation.

It wasn't long before the king stopped riding in his royal carriage, and instead, walked behind it on foot. However, the more he took humble behavior upon himself, the more haughty he became. 'Look at me', he would think as he pictured himself in his mind's eye. 'I am a powerful King, yet see how I carry myself. No one is more humble than I!'

The wise man however saw through the sham. 'Your Majesty', he cajoled, 'This is not what I intended. Your Majesty should indeed be riding in the Royal carriage. But in your heart you should feel contrite and humble like the man walking behind the carriage. This kind of humility is acquired with much greater effort and sacrifice. It is however, genuine humility."

(original article)

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