Finding the Buried Treasure of Happiness

            October/November 2012    
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The Buried Treasure

By Avi Lazerson

In a small shtetl in old Eastern Europe lived a poor Jew by the name of Motel Schlemiel. Motel lived in a very simple one room house with his wife and six children. Life was hard for Motel, he made a living by bringing water to the village from the near by river with two buckets balanced on his shoulders.

The only thing that was bright in poor Motel's life was his dreams, or in reality, one dream. Motel had the same re-occurring dream several times a week. Each time he would dream that he journeyed to a distant city that has a big and magnificent bridge in the heart of the city that spanned a large river. Under this bridge Motel would dig and uncover a large box filled with gold and silver coins.

In the morning he would wake up excitedly and tell his wife about the dream. It seemed so real that it gave him energy to go to do his monotonous work which he did as he dreamed of going to the big city to fulfill this dream. His wife was indifferent to his dreams; she only needed money for food for the little ones and themselves; she felt his dreams were a waste of time and she told him this.

The more Motel would dream about the hidden treasure, the more he would want to fulfill the dream; to go to the big city, find this bridge and dig up the treasure. Finally after many months of wanting to go, he told his wife that he was planning to leave to go to the big city and once there to seek out the fortune that for certain awaited him there.

After many objections, his wife finally consented to letting him go and on that happy day, Motel took leave of his family, packed his food and clothing and began his journey to the big city. In those days transportation was slow and hard. Much of it was on foot and often a local farmer would give him a lift on his horse drawn wagon.

It took Motel almost a week to reach his destination, but he made it to the big city, the city that had a river pass through its heart. There he saw his dream, the big magnificent bridge!

However at that time, there were rumors that the enemies of this city were planning to attack and as part of their plan of attack was to destroy the bridge. Police were stationed around the bridge on the look out for enemies who wanted to destroy this bridge.

Motel was heart broken to see the police stationed near his bridge. He had dreamt so much about this bridge and now he had found it, but to dig underneath it was almost impossible. So Motel just camped out in a small grassy area not far from the park waiting for the constables to leave their watch just long enough for him to be able to dig. After several days of waiting, his opportunity came. The moon was in its last phase and it was a cloudy night. Motel snuck there with a few tools and a shovel and began to dig. After a few moments he was surrounded by eight or ten armed police officers and quickly bound in rope and taken to the police station.

A mean and nasty police officer looked down on frightened Motel, “So we caught you red handed trying to destroy our bridge, eh? Who sent you here to do it? Speak up or we will whip your body until it bleeds welts and than hang your filthy carcass 'till yer dead!”

Motel was frighten to speak; he did not know about the enemy but he sensed something big was going on so he simply pleaded for his life. “Please, Mister Policeman, I am just a simple Jew. I only came here because I have had this re-occurring dream that there is a treasure buried under this bridge. I did not mean any harm. I only came to see if my dream was real. Please believe me, I am just a simple Jew.”

The police captain was an intelligent man and saw that the tools that Motel had could not do much more than dig a hole but were certainly not capable of destroying a bridge. He also saw that Motel was just as he stated, a simple G-d fearing Jew who had a dream. In fact the police captain had had a similar dream.

“Ok, Jew, I think you are telling the truth. But let me tell you something. I also have a dream that there is a treasure buried in a dilapidated house in a small dump of village near a river.” The captain went on to describe in detail the house and village that he dreamt of constantly. “Do you think that I am so stupid to go to this village and seek such a fortune? Do I have to go there and dig under the over to discover a fortune? Ach! Dreams are the food of fools; wise men live their lives based on logic, not meaningless dreams! I am going to let you go, but only on condition that you leave here and never come back!”

Motel thanked the captain profusely for his understanding and promised never to come back again. He picked up his belongings and made a beeline to his home. After arriving in his tiny shtetl, Motel realized that the description of the small village that the police captain said matched exactly that of his village, and even more so, the shack that the policeman described to him matched that of the very house that Motel lived in!

With his wife's help they moved the large heavy cast iron stove that the police captain had described and Motel began digging. In only a few minutes Motel found the top of an old wooden box. With renewed energy, Motel continued to dig out this box and lift it up onto the dirt floor of their shack. Opening up the box Motel was excited to find that it was filled with gold and silver coins. Motel and his wife lived happily ever after.


The point of the story is simple. People always look outside of themselves for success and happiness. The real happiness in life comes from within. There is no need to go to India to find spirituality, it is within you. You don't need to buy the latest gadget to be happy, happiness can only be found within you. Everything you need to be happy and contented is within you. It is only for you to dig it out and use it.


from the October/November 2012 Edition of the Jewish Magazine

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