Translation by Yehoshua Siskin
How do we want to live our lives? Now that Hanukkah is over, the routine of work, study, and winter begins. I found the following story upon opening "The Future Begins Now," a new book by Rabbi Yoni Lavi.
"Once a farmer in a faraway village in Russia had to go to Moscow, the capital city, but the road he would have to travel by horse and cart would take two weeks. One of his neighbors advised him to take advantage of a new invention: a speedy train.
The village farmer, who had never traveled by train, bought a ticket for the luxurious first class compartment. He waited on the platform but, since he did not know how to behave on a train, he decided to do exactly what those standing in line in front of him would do.
The train arrived and he followed the two people in front of him while they boarded the third class compartment, not knowing that they did not have tickets. Each time the conductor approached, the two quickly hid themselves under some seats. The famer, who thought that this was what you did when traveling by train, followed suit.
At a certain point, the conductor noticed them hiding and demanded to see their tickets. The farmer pulled out his ticket and the conductor was in shock. 'Why are you traveling third class and hiding under a seat with filth and spider webs when you have a premium first class ticket?'
This parable is about us. When we were born, each of us received a ticket for a trip through this world. Shall we take that trip in a lowly, degrading, marginal compartment, or do we understand that we have a premium ticket to go first class, living a life full of joy and meaning?"