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Life on the Road

Friday, 6 December, 2019 - 11:31 am

The Jewish traveler was aghast.

The man had traveled to visit Rabbi Dovber of Mezeritch, who would later become an 18th century leader of the Chassidic movement known throughout the world as a premier spiritual master.  When he arrived at Rabbi Dovber’s house, the man was dismayed by the Rabbi’s poor living conditions.
The holy Rabbi was sitting on a board -- no chairs in sight -- teaching young children Torah. The scene seemed so incongruous; rich spirituality framed by raw poverty. The man, an innkeeper by trade, couldn’t imagine living in what he perceived to be such a sorry state.
Unable to contain himself, he queried the Rabbi as to how he could live without the basic amenities of a normal house. Why was his home so bare?
Answering the question with a question, the Rabbi queried, “well, where is your furniture?”
Perplexed, the man replied “Rabbi, I’m on the road. I don’t take my furniture with me when I travel. At home I’m set up fine. That‘s where I'm really invested and that's where it matters.”
Rabbi Dovber replied “I, too, am in the midst of a journey. G-d sent my soul to this world for a purpose, just as he sent yours. I'm travelling through life and will eventually move on to a higher plane.
Materialism is part of life's impermanence, and I treat it as such. Because I, too, don't care that much about furniture when I'm travelling.

I invest energy into my ‘home’ -- my soul and spiritual needs. That‘s where it matters.”
We’re all on the road of life. We’re each put here for a purpose, and what matters most is achieving our objective: A meaningful life.

The journey’s material trimmings, the proverbial ‘mints on the pillow’, are nice, but not the priority.
So we should ask ourselves:  Where do I really live?  Which areas of my life genuinely matter and which elements of my life are just parts of the journey -- the means to a greater end?
How much attention do I pay to each?
Placing undue attention on material things and fleeting pleasures is kind of like carrying your sofa with you as you travel.
Travel light. Live well. 

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