Monday, February 03, 2014

"I was once traveling on a ship," recounted Rabban Gamliel, "when I saw another ship that had been wrecked. My heart grieved especially for one of its passengers, the great sage Rabbi Akiva. When I reached land and resumed my studies I suddenly saw him sitting before me and discussing spiritual matters with me.

"I said to him, “My son, who pulled you up?”  

Rabbi Akiva replied: "A plank from the ship came my way and I clung to it. When each wave came surging towards me I bowed my head and let it pass over me."

                                                  --Talmud, Yevamos 121

My Soul, my Soul, all disturbed by sorrows inconsolable,

Bear up, hold out, meet front-on the many foes that rush on you

Now from this side and now that, enduring all such strife up close,

Never wavering; and should you win, don't openly exult,

Nor, defeated, throw yourself lamenting in a heap at home,

But delight in things that are delightful and, in hard times, grieve

Not too much—appreciate the rhythm that controls men's lives.



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