By: Rabbi Dovid Markel
Once, in a certain village, there lived a dog that became somewhat of a community fixture. Whenever there was some sort of event in the town, the dog would be there. The villagers would invariably feel bad for the dog and would throw it leftovers from the festivities. Over time, the dog began going not only to his own town, but to the neighboring villages as well, and there too, he was treated to the same morsels of food at each event.
To his good fortune, it once happened that there were two weddings to take place on the same day—one in the village that he lived in and one in a village nearby. The village in the farther town began somewhat earlier than the one in his town.
“This must be my lucky day,” the dog thought to himself.
Now he could rush and arrive in time for both weddings to partake of the feasts served at each of the festivities. Although he realized the speed that he would need to travel with in order for him to attend both celebrations, he nevertheless decided that the pleasure of the delicious foods was well worth the effort.
At the crack of dawn, the dog woke up and began running to the town which was a small distance away. Although he started off at an early hour, by the time he arrived the wedding was finished. The hall was locked up, all the guests had returned home, and the dog was left without anything.
Somewhat dejected, he decided to return to his town. At least he would receive some of the tasty delicacies that he had looked forward to that day. He ran as quickly as his legs could carry him, and arrived there exhausted, worn out from his tiring sprint. By the time that he got to the second wedding however, the celebrations there were over as well, and none of the guests were around anymore.
How often are we the dog in this story? We try to get the best of both worlds, and enjoy a little physicality while still retaining our spirituality. Well, many times we are forced to realize that it just can’t happen. In the way that G-d created the systems of the physical and spiritual worlds, those efforts are not always realistic, and not usually possible. We must choose our priorities, and realize what it is that we want to strive for. Many times it may mean giving up our physical transitory pleasure for an everlasting spiritual return.
Based on a story found in Ben Melech V’Hanazir.