The fable of King Solomon and the ring
When I took this picture of a hawk sitting on the fence as rain poured down on him, I couldn’t help but think of the phrase, “This too shall pass.” It is one of my favorite phrases when I’m struggling with something.
When I say these simple words, I find that calmness comes to me like a nice warm hug. Yet, when I thought about this phrase, I realized I didn’t know the story behind it.
So, I did some research, which led me to Wikipedia. It turns out these words are part of a parable about King Solomon.
I loved the parable so much I decided to share it with you.
One day Solomon decided to humble Benaiah Ben Yehoyada, his most trusted minister.
He said to him, “Benaiah, there is a certain ring that I want you to bring to me. I wish to wear it for Sukkot, so this gives you six months to find it.”
“If it exists anywhere on earth, your majesty,” replied Benaiah, “I will find it and bring it to you, but what makes the ring so special?”
“It has magic powers,” answered the king. “If a happy man looks at it, he becomes sad, and if a sad man looks at it, he becomes happy.”
Solomon knew that no such ring existed in the world, but he wished to give his minister a little taste of humility.
Spring passed and then summer and still Benaiah had no idea where he could find the ring. On the night before Sukkot, he decided to take a walk in one of the poorest quarters of Jerusalem.
He passed by a merchant who had begun to set out the day’s wares on a shabby carpet. “Have you by any chance heard of a magic ring that makes the happy wearer forget his joy and the broken-hearted wearer forget his sorrows?” asked Benaiah.
He watched the grandfather take a plain gold ring from his carpet and engrave something on it. When Benaiah read the words on the ring, his face broke out in a wide smile.
That night, as the entire city welcomed in the holiday of Sukkot with great festivity, Benaiah met with Solomon. “Well, my friend,” said Solomon, “have you found what I sent you after?”
All the ministers laughed and Solomon himself smiled. To everyone’s surprise, Benaiah held up a small gold ring and declared, “Here it is, your majesty!”
As soon as Solomon read the inscription, the smile vanished from his face. The jeweler had written three Hebrew letters on the gold band: gimel, zayin, yud, which began the words “Gam zeh ya’avor” or “This too shall pass.”
At that moment Solomon realized that all his wisdom, fabulous wealth and tremendous power were but fleeting things, for one day he would be nothing but dust.
This too shall pass
Now, you could see this as a depressing tale, but then again, parables aren’t always the happiest of stories, are they? They are meant as life lessons or morality stories.
I choose to see this parable as comforting. To me, it says that it is foolish to believe whatever happens in our lives will last forever. It will not. It is temporary, just like life.
I don’t interpret this to mean that we shouldn’t celebrate our joys and happiness or cry about our sorrows and losses, but it does remind me that we must do this with the understanding that BOTH will eventually pass. We can’t hold on to them or them to us.
There’s a beauty to these words. I think they are about the wisdom of fully appreciating and experiencing our lives, both the good and bad.
So, how’s your day?
If it’s absolutely wonderful, rejoice in it! Stand up and dance. Feel the thrill of a great day. You have this day for right now – appreciate it.
If, on the other hand, your day is not going so well, don’t let it cling to you or believe it will haunt you – it cannot.
You see, we all wear the ring that Benaiah gave to Solomon and it is engraved with the words, “Gam zeh ya’avor” or “This too shall pass.”
p.s. I’ve put up a new puzzle for the Puzzle Game, but must issue a warning. This one is not so easy to do and it will challenge you puzzle crazy people out there. I hope you have fun with it and feel free to put up your times in the comment box:~)