“Why are you rushing so much?” asked the wise sage. “I’m rushing after my livelihood,” the man answered. “And how do you know,” said the sage, “that your livelihood is running on before you, so that you have to rush after it? Perhaps it is behind you, and all you need to do is stand still.”
This is an old Hassidic wise tale, calling upon us to consider the way in which we are living, and the lives we are chasing. Do we stop to consider the riches that we already have in our lives that we too often take for granted?
I’ve seen it so many times. A major crisis can quickly change our perspective. Someone becomes seriously ill, a person whom we know suddenly dies, and we are faced with how temporary and tenuous life is. We look closely at the “rush” of our lives and ask ourselves: “Are we hurrying to a worthwhile goal?” Or are we losing out in our quest for more and bigger and better?
Judaism summons us to cherish “this” day. To live with open eyes and an open heart, and to count our blessings. Yes, it is true that the quality of a life is to be measured, not by what we gain, but by what we give and value most.