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Home » High Holidays

New Year Greeting 5767: A World of Chicken Fat

Submitted by on September 17, 2006 – 3:15 amNo Comment | 907 views

Gold Dust

A
story is told of a man who went abroad in search of his livelihood. He
booked passage on a ship, embarked and was sadly shipwrecked on an
Island. To his amazement he found that the island streets were littered
with gold. He pulled out his rucksack and filled it with as many gold
nuggets as he could find.


Exhausted
from a full day of collecting he went to a motel to arrange lodging.
The clerk refused to accept gold as payment saying, ”they’re just
rocks!” The poor fellow was forced to sleep out on the street.


The
next morning he tried to buy a coffee when the proprietor drove him
from the shop screaming, “What an insult, you want to pay me with
dust?” Hungry and tired he tried to purchase a berth on the next ship
leaving the island. He was no longer surprised when the ticketing agent
refused to accept his gold as payment.

Chicken Fat

A
kind man explained that the currency in this island was chicken-fat.
Gold was dust, only chicken-fat had value. The man decided to hire
himself out as a day laborer till he would earn enough chicken-fat to
book passage on a ship sailing home.


He
placed his gold filled sacks in storage and concentrated on earning
chicken-fat. He barely earned enough to scrape by and it took a several
years till he could afford a ticket. By that time the man grew
accustomed to the new currency and came to view gold as street dust.


Years
went by and the man grew wealthy. He decided to set sail for home and
purchased a fleet of boats to carry him and his accumulated wealth
across the ocean. When he arrived his wife asked to see his accumulated
wealth and he showed her the vats of chicken-fat.

Sad Awakening

She
nearly fainted from the odor and requested that he show her the money.
At that moment his memory returned and reality hit him like a thunder
clap. He had forgotten about the value of gold and left his gold sacks
on the island. He frantically searched his bags and found one or two
nuggets that were inadvertently packed away.

The Time is Now

This
story is a metaphor. The man is our soul and his home is heaven. The
Island is our world, the gold are the Mitzvos and the chicken-fat is
the material success to which we aspire. Our soul arrives to this world
seeking out Mitzvot. It finds many mitzvah opportunities, but very few
people who actually value them.


Rather
than clinging stubbornly to our knowledge of the Mtizvots’ value we
often allow ourselves to forget and invest instead in the false
currency of indulgence. When we arrive back home, when we return to
heaven G-d asks to see our accumulated wealth. We realize our error at
once and search frantically for a nugget or two that we may have picked
up along the way.


As
the new year arrives, let’s set aside time to collecting real nuggets.
Let us remember that material success is necessary only to ensure safe
passage across the island of life. Once we return to heaven, our sole
concern will be the Mitzvot that we performed in this life.


Shannah Tova

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