CLERGY CORNER: The Farmer

Posted on 03 May 2018 by LeslieM

A parable:

A farmer once married a princess and she moved to the farm. He was a nice man and treated her respectfully. The first day he taught her how to milk the cows; the second day, how to feed the mules; the third day, how to clean the horses. He gave her a comfortable bed near the stable, teaching her about the crow of the rooster that will awake her. Yet, his wife was miserable.

He consulted his father-in-law, the king, saying, “I am trying so hard to satisfy your daughter to no avail. She is miserable. What am I to do?”

The king responded: “You’re a fine and sincere young man. But you must understand: your wife grew in up in royalty; the life of the farm does not speak to her heart. You can’t offer her what she needs because you have no concept that it exists.”

This is a parable of the soul who married the body. The body is the peasant farmer, offering us Wall Street and condominiums and success, and power, and all other kinds of potatoes and tomatoes. Most of us live thinking that we are the peasant. That is why however much we have it is never enough … because we are feeding ourselves the wrong thing. It can be everything the peasant has ever dreamed of, but it’s still not enough because the princess has been raised on finer stuff.

Our bodies are nice and polite. They mean well. Our soul is anxious, so the body tells our souls: wait till you see what’s for breakfast. The body gives the soul the most delicious breakfast, lunch and dinner. But, alas, we still have a void: the void of a soul yearning for something more.

So the body takes the soul on expensive cruises, on fancy vacations, builds for it fancy homes and marvelous cars, labeled designer clothing and precious jewelry. But the soul still feels a void. Because the soul grew up in royalty, the delights of the “farm” will not do the trick. The soul needs transcendence; it is searching for the Divine.

As the soul enters into a body for a lifelong “marriage,” its self-expression becomes severely limited, as it is living with a partner who does not even understand its language. And, unlike marriage, where you can run away from your husband for a few hours to get some fresh air, the soul can never leave the body to take a break; it remains confined within the body. Sometimes, like in a marriage, the soul is completely ignored.

Yet, just as in a physical marriage that it is only as a result of the unity between man and woman that they can achieve eternity, so it is with the marriage of soul and body. It is only in this world, while enclothed in the body, that the soul can transcend itself and reach heights completely impossible to reach if it would remain “single” in heaven. Only in this world, through its arduous work within and with the body, can the soul fulfill G-d’s commandments —the “children” created by the marriage of body and soul — through which it connects to G-d Himself.

And it is only on earth that we can experience transformation, completely going out of our fixed limitations and becoming a new person. In heaven, we are what we are. In earth, we can transform ourselves. An addict can experience recovery; an obnoxious self-centered man can become noble and kind; a crooked liar can become an honest human being. In this world, we can make real changes. True growth is possible.

Rabbi Tzvi Dechter is the director of Chabad of North Broward Beaches, located in the Venetian Isle Shopping Center at 2025 E. Sample Rd. in Lighthouse Point. For all upcoming events, please visit www.JewishLHP.com.

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