Three Jewish stories

By Paulo Coelho

The shortest constitution in the world

A group of wise Jewish men met up in order to try and create the shortest Constitution in the world. If anyone – in the space of time a man takes to balance on one foot – were capable of defining the laws governing human behavior, he would be considered the greatest of all wise men.

– God punishes criminals – said one.

The others argued that this was not a law, but a threat; the phrase was not accepted.

– God is love – commented another.

Again, the wise men did not accept the phrase, saying that it did not properly explain the duties of humanity.

Just then, Rabbi Hillel came forward. And, standing on one foot, he said:

– Do not do to another that which you would abhor being done to you; that is the law. All the rest is legal commentary.

And Rabbi Hillel was considered the greatest wise man of his time.

Covering the sun with one’s hand

A disciple went to Rabbi Nachman of Bratslav:

– I shall not continue with my studies of sacred texts – he said. – I live in a small house with my brothers and parents, and never have the ideal conditions for concentrating on that which is important.

Nachman pointed to the sun and asked his disciple to place his hand over his face, in order to hide it. The disciple obeyed.

– Your hand is small, yet it can completely cover the power, light and majesty of the great sun. In the same way, the small problems manage to give you the excuse you need in order to hinder your progress along your spiritual journey.

“Just as your hand has the power to hide the sun, mediocrity has the power to hide your inner light. Do not blame others for your own incompetence.”

It seems so obvious

Rabbi Ben Zoma was asked:

– Who is wise?

– He who always finds something to learn from others – said the Rabbi.

– Who is strong?

– The man who is capable of dominating himself.

– Who is wealthy?

– He who knows the treasure he has: his days and hours of life, which can change everything which goes on around him.

– Who deserves respect?

– He who respects himself and his neighbor.

– These things are all so obvious – commented one of those present.

– That is why they are so difficult to observe – concluded the Rabbi.

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Comments

  1. G.K. Gill says:

    There are so many facets to my spiritual journey. I have a live teacher, the Guru Granth Sahib.

    I started out with aplomb – with my warrior of lighting ways. I died a spiritual death and had new life infused in me. Yesterday I prayed for shakti (power) and bhagti (worship) as I rolled my sleeves to battle. The Guru Granth Sahib replied – how about some peace instead and swept away the remnants of Maya mischief attacking me.

    From active spiritual fighting (I saw so much in such a short time while immersed in Maya or illusion!), I have now fallen silent and now meditate on the Naam. The Guru Granth Sahib guides me. The Primal Lord. It seems to me that meditation is a lot more difficult and a complete opposite to fighting despite the peace, contentment and poise that it brings.

    I’m a chatterbox. To be immersed in silence and keep my wise comments to myself is a challenge.

    Walks on along the razor’s edge …

  2. Noora. says:

    Very true
    its interesting how you broaden the readers view with such stories..

    Thank you for sharing different nations’ virtues and values…

    Indeed cultures do have similar morals despite conflicts and controversy (mostly politically!)

    1400 years ago, Prophet Mohammed (Peace be upon him) said “None of you has faith unless. you love for your brother what you love for yourself”.

    Where are the wise nowadays?!

    N.M.

  3. aditya says:

    but wanbliska,

    don’t they mean the same, if my consituion is to treat others with respect ( do unto them what u wish to be dealth with yourself ), it implies both that i love ooops! respect my self and i love oooops again respect my neighbour ( and only respect my neighbour’s wife )

    Hi Alexandra ,

    realisation is the first step towards improvement, so fear not, u are on the right track lady ! in this journey first step is most important and each step is the first step !! actually realisation is in two parts, first when someone sees the ‘wrong’ of their ways and second part which is merely a formality, just paperwork, is the final realisation, provided……. the seeing is actual seeing not mere pretending, there is only one simple test, if one has really seen the ‘wrong’ of one’s ways one will take action to do someting about it, if no action is materialising ( meditation too is an action, initially ) then one has not actually seen, it may be pretending !

    freinds ! frankly even I am amazed at what I just wrote above, more than anyone else, this seems addressed to me.

  4. wanbliska says:

    By what I wrote, I was meaning: “Do not do to another that which you would abhor being done to you”.
    So anyone deserve respect.

  5. Alexandra says:

    Yes,yes ,yes.The things that are so obvious that we forgett about them.Thank you,for you have the great tallent to remember us so many important things,you are helping me to develop.About the story in wich the small hand hides the sun,i have to recognise I too sometime give such excuses.Hope I improove soon.

  6. Liara Covert says:

    As a human being develops a conscience, then whatever is said outside of the soul passes through. As you become attuned to yoru true self, you always know the answer of what is right, what works and what matters.

  7. Tania says:

    Yes very true for these stories …treat others the way you wished to be treated and again excuses are a big avoidance to self sabotage your situation ,you can do what you love anywhere ,God has all the time in the world for you ..man has to justify himself when he is trying to get out something ..Also a person who is strong,wealthy and wise and has these knowings then he is living in his kingdom..Blessings Tania

  8. Agnieszka says:

    Such a wise stories, so true, we should always remember that.
    Thank You Paulo.

    and… there’s one passage from Khalil Gibran, I love:

    “What are you doing? – asks one man the other, who was sitting in one place every day.

    I am looking at the fields.

    And what else are you doing?

    Isn’t it enough to understand the meaning of life?”

    (Just wanted to share it with you all.)
    :-)
    love
    Agnieszka

  9. wanbliska says:

    “Do not do to another that which you would abhor being done to you”
    If that wise man is right, so he may not agree with the third one that tell the one who deserves respect, is the one “who respects himself and his neighbor”.

    Gratefully