Posted by: Subway Conductor | January 16, 2009

January 2009

A simple Jew from Eastern Europe once decided to got o a distant island to seek his fortune. He heard rumors that in this far off place, one could find untold riches and so he said farewell to his wife and children and set off on a ship bound for the island.

After many months at sea, the Jew arrived on the island and alas, the rumors had been true. From the moment he landed, he saw that there were diamonds and precious stones strewn everywhere. It was as easy as bending down to become a wealthy man. He filled his pockets with a few of the jewels, but then quickly tired. The ship would not be back to pick him up for a whole year. He would have plenty of time to gather jewels. so he went and found a comfortable place to stay.

The man soon discovered that on this island, jewels were hardly valuable at all. What was considered of great worth on this desert island was schmaltz – chicken fat. The Jew, always enterprising, began to collect chicken fat. He raised chickens and stored the fat in large barrels. It wasn’t long until he had a tremendous supply of schmaltz. he was looked upon as a very prosperous person on the island and he was satisfied.

One day, he heard the sound of the ship in the harbor. A year had gone by and he had not gathered up any of the diamonds. Instead he had barrels and barrels of chicken fat. The ship was departing immediately and he had to get on board. He took the barrels of schmaltz down to the harbor and had them loaded onto the ship. Safely aboard just in the nick of time, the ship set sail.

After a few weeks at sea, the barrels of schmaltz began to product an unpleasant odor. In another couple of weeks, the ship’s crew insisted that he throw them overboard to get rid of the stench that the rotten schmaltz was causing. He hated to but he had no choice but to discard his tremendous store.

Finally, he arrived home. When his wife and children saw him they were overjoyed. “So, was it true Were there great riches on the island?” The man immediately realized how foolish he had been. There certainly were great riches to be easily obtained but instead he had spent all his time trying to increase his store of chicken fat. Except for a few stones, which he had gathered the first day, he had no diamonds or jewels.

We too are living in a world with riches all over the place. We have the opportunity to do G-d’s mitzvahs (commandants) and obtain the merit they posses. But instead, we waste our time and effort on that which has no real value. We need to realize what is truly valuable and what is not — before it is too late.

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