July 22, 2022
There was once a king who owned the most beautiful diamond across the land. For years he proudly showed off the diamond to his courtiers, to noble visitors, and frequently displayed it for the people to admire.
Unfortunately, while marveling at the diamond one day, the king noticed a scratch across its surface. The scratch was deep, and no matter which expert gemologist the king brought in to repair the diamond, no professional dared attempt to fix it out of fear that the diamond’s appearance may worsen instead of return to its original beauty.
After years of disappointment, a young gemologist -having recently ended his apprenticeship- went to the king, and offered to repair his damaged gemstone. The king, although skeptical, was willing to try anything to revive his prized possession.
A few days passed, then several weeks, and after a few months, the young man finally brought the king his revived stone.
At first, the king eyed the stone with a strange and hesitant look. But quickly a smile appeared on the king’s face, and he began to laugh with tears of happiness running down his face. He reached out to the young man, thanked him for his excellent work, and named him his official jeweler for as long as he would want to serve in the role.
The king, having now waited years to share his diamond once again with his people, eagerly took the brilliant stone and set it on display for all to see. With amazement and disbelief, and the realization of what the young gemologist had achieved, each new visitor left the stone with a knowing smile and a newfound appreciation for its incredible beauty.
Unlike all those who came before the young gemologist, who saw an unrepairable imperfection, this young man saw the foundation for new beauty. This young man carved a rose from the scratch, adding a stunning head of petals, with remarkable leaves to the stem, and created a magnificence that others could not imagine.
The above parable is attributed to the Maggid of Dubno, who was known for answering questions with the most beautiful and enlightening stories. It is said that the above story was the Maggid’s response to a student’s concern that his imperfections were so evident that he would never amount to anything.
None of us are perfect. We each have our unique “scratches” that run deep in different ways. Yet, what we do have is the ability to see our unique flaws as assets in creating new beauty, new skills, and new opportunities.
In this week’s Torah portion, we read of the great recognition of the Torah portion’s namesake, Pinchas. In fact, Rashi shares that Pinchas was a bullied and disparaged young man before finally being bestowed the honor of priest for life.
We do not know what our destiny might bring. We do not know the outcomes of every interaction we will have. And we certainly do not know which blemish may turn out to be a shining talent.
Therefore, this week, may we help a friend, a colleague, or a loved one (and especially ourselves) see a flaw as a force, a weakness as a strength, and a scratch as an opportunity. Because we are…