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from "Baal Shem Tov" 38.1 q22

Six Months to Live

Three students once came to the famous rabbi Bal Shem Tov, and he asked them

"What would you do if you knew you would die in six months?"

So the first student said "I would go to Jerusalem to the Wailing Wall and pray continuously."

The second student said "No. The journey would waste valuable time. I would go to my room and begin to pray continuously."

The third student remained silent and the first two assumed he had nothing to say.

But when questioned by the Rabbi, the third said "Why I would continue with my job and my normal daily schedule."

So the Rabbi said "This third answer is best! For if we cannot find holiness and meaning in our moment to moment daily existence, then we shall not find it in Jerusalem, or anywhere else.

Bal Shem Tov (whose name means "Master of the Good Name") said,

"G-d has hidden His light in this world. Find it and you will see to the ends of the universe."

In The Song of Songs, by Solomon it says "My beloved comes down from the mountain..

.... He looks out the window... and peeks through the cracks of the shutters.."

In Jewish mystical theology... "looking out the window"... is when the Divine Presence (Shekhina) manifested periodically as a cloud in the Holy of Holies.

But after the destruction of the Temple the "looking out of the cracks of the shutters"....

... that is the "sparks" of the Light of G-d, hidden in the world.

In Proverbs... "A word of Wisdom fitly spoken is like an apple of GOLD in fittings (a fine screen)... of SILVER.

From a distance it appears as a Silver apple. As we approach more closely, a glint, a spark of Gold is seen.

As we meditate upon the apple and comprehend it, we realize it for what it truly is, a GOLDEN apple, concealed with in a silver casing.

The apple has transformed in our understanding. But in our meditation and comprehension, we too have been transformed.


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