THE KING AND I
Once there was a king who, along with his royal entourage, was traveling through a small city. As they were careening their way through the town's streets, they came upon a man by a garbage heap who was playing in the mud.
Once there was a king who, along with his royal entourage, was traveling through a small city. As they were careening their way through the town's streets, they came upon a man by a garbage heap who was playing in the mud. Struck by a feeling of goodwill, the king ordered his vizier to take the man, clean him up, dress him in royal clothing, educate him, and introduce him to the finer things in life.
For the next several months, the man lived in the king's palace. Not only did he receive the best education, but he also learned about and experienced the finer things in life, partaking of good food, good wine, and good music.
About a year later, the king and his entourage were once again traveling through that same city where they had first found the man. However, now the man was himself a part of the entourage. It was incredible to see how much he had grown in the past year! As the entourage made its way through the city, they came upon that very same garbage heap. Immediately upon glimpsing it, the man stripped himself of his royal clothing and dove head-first into the mud. The king was appalled. Here he had taken this man out of his poverty-stricken state and raised him to a degree of royalty, and now he has chosen to return to his former way of life.
The king in this story can be compared to the King of all kings, Hashem. We are Hashem's nation; He chose us. By giving us His Torah he raised us out of our poverty-stricken state and transformed us into royalty. He educated us in the proper ways of life, teaching us what true pleasure is. However as time goes by, we begin to strip ourselves of our royal clothing. We take off our yarmulke as we go into the workplace. We dive head-first into the mud of secular society, bathing ourselves in the unholy culture which surrounds us.
This past week, we celebrated the holiday of Shavuot which commemorated the time when Hashem graciously gave us His precious Torah at Mt. Sinai. It has only been a few days since we relived that awesome experience. Have we already begun to slip back into the mud? Let us strive to keep the Torah with us, to proudly wear our "royal clothing". We have been chosen to become part of the King's entourage - let us not waste the opportunity.
This article was inspired by Rabbi Dov Ber Weisman.
Benyamin Cohen, a native Atlantan and alumnus of Yeshiva Atlanta, is a junior at Georgia State University.
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