There is a story that really hits me; it is one of my favorite stories. This is from Rebbe Nachman who was unique and famous for his original stories.
Once, the king’s son believed he was a turkey. He would act exactly as if he was a turkey, gobbling under the table naked, and eating scraps from the floor. Of course the king was beyond himself, he did not know what to do, and brought in every expert and specialist to help his child, but nothing helped.
One day a wise man came to the capital city and paid a visit to the king. He heard about the Turkey Prince as the king’s son was known. The wise man begged an audience with the king and said “you have nothing to lose, let me try to help your son, but you must not interfere”. The king agreed.
On the first day the man observed the prince naked on the floor, and after some time the wise man removed his own clothes and joined the royal child. The prince was surprised and said “what are you doing here?!” The man answered “I am a turkey.”
The two spent a few days on the floor like this, then one day the wise man sat down on the floor wearing pants. The prince was unsure, but the man assured him that “even turkeys can wear pants.”
After another few days the wise man wore a shirt, assuring the prince “turkeys can wear shirts too if they want.”
This continued until the prince appeared fully cured.
This story says so much.
- Act on what is right even if you do not fully integrate the belief. The prince believes himself to be a turkey, but even turkeys can go to work. Strive to do what is right and true even if you have not begun to feel that it is good and sweet. A friend of mine in a rebellious teenager phase of life recalled to me how the great rabbi Rav Noah Weinberg asked him why he wasn’t doing what he believed to be right and true, with no answer besides him being a teenager Rav Noah bellowed “So dance dummy!“
- The power of rock bottom. The change came when being a turkey for the rest of the prince’s life was fully accepted by the king, the wise man, and even the prince. Often the fear of the worst case scenario paralyzes, and keeps any real progress far away. As we all know no one changes until they are accepted. Recently while coaching a young man we both burst into laughter after touching with absolute acceptance his worst fears.
There are many more lessons to be gleaned, but it is almost shabbat here in Beit Meir, Israel and my wife Leah could really use my help.
May you really find your soulmate those of us married and those not yet married, in this shabbat we read about Yitzchak finding his wife Rivka.
Rabbi Dovid Baars