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THE KING'S DISHONEST SERVANTS

By Mike Schwartz

In a far-away kingdom, in a time long ago, when the king was the absolute ruler and had power over life and death, lived a very rich king. This king had amassed an enormous fortune. His palace was huge, even by standards of other kings and emperors. The castle boasted many rooms, large and beautiful with spiral watchtowers inching up to the heavens where the king's soldiers sat looking out on the kingdom, protecting it from attack and ready to dispatch a legion if enemies should approach.

But in the deepest part of the castle, dug down far beneath the floor level, the king had built a gigantic room to store his treasures and immense wealth. Here in a room with no windows, was his treasure house. Too massive to adequately describe, here sat his trunks of jewels, rare and precious stone, sacks of coins, gold and silver. The huge room was piled with his trunks and sack, just enough room was available for the king's guards to pass through on their routine inspections to assure that no robbers or thieves had made their way in.

One day, two of the guards, deciding each guard separately with out the other one knowing, that the king surely wouldn't miss a coin or two, each helped themselves to the king's fortune with out the other one knowing. One guard, when he was sure no one was looking took one gold coin and slipped it into his pocket. The second guard, being a little greedier took five gold coins. After all, they reasoned the king's wealth being so enormously great, that his fortunes were in the billions and millions, with jewels and coins so many, that even the king could not count them and still more and more coming in each day. Surely what I am taking, each guard thought to himself, can not be noticed.

What a surprise they had as they left the palace that evening to go home, the police stopped them at the door and quickly found the stolen coins in their pockets. Swiftly they were thrown into prison and in a very short time they were brought in front of a judge for sentencing.

The judge called the first the guard who had stolen five gold coins for sentencing. "For stealing five gold coins of the king, I hereby sentence you to five years in prison doing hard work!" with a clap on the desk with his gavel, The police quickly grabbed the guard and sat him with the other prisoner who would shortly be sent off to the prison

The judge then called the second guard who had stolen one gold coin. The guard stood for the sentencing. "For stealing one gold coin of the king, I hereby sentence you to five years in prison doing hard work!"

"What" gasped the guard!? "It's not fair! If he" pointing at the other guard, "received five years punishment for stealing five gold coins, I who stole only one coin, should only receive one year! It's not fair!"

"Ah," the judge said, glancing down at the bewildered guard, "you think that you get a year for each gold coin? Ha! That's not correct. The five years in prison is for the audacity and chutzpah of putting your hands on the property of the king and taking it; not for the amount that was involved. Just for having the audacity and chutzpah to take the king's property you will spend five years in prison doing hard work!"

The police then took this guard and sat him with the first, awaiting transfer to the prison, while a third person was brought in front of the judge.

"You have been found guilty of trying to kidnap the princess, the king's daughter, and for this your head will be chopped off tomorrow" said the judge to the third party now standing in front of the judge.

"Your Honor, it's not fair! You, yourself, just said that for taking the king's property the sentence is five years in prison. That's all that I did, I also only took the king's property. I should also only get five years!"

"Ah," the judge said looking down and this the third defendant. "What do you think? These other two men, didn't try to harm the king, they wanted to enrich themselves, for them five years at hard work will eradicate this desire from their hearts. But you, not only did you want to be rich dishonestly, you were willing to harm the king and his family. The only way to eradicate this from you is to separate your head from your heart!"

So it is with us, when a person (G-d forbid) does a transgression against HaShem, it doesn't matter how small it is. It is an affront to HaShem. Just like with a neighbor, it doesn't matter if some one slights him or takes something from him, he won't have a desire to speak with this person until the transgression is repaired, so too with HaShem, it doesn't matter how big or even how small the transgression is, the desire on the part of HaShem to rest His Holiness on some one is taken away.

On the other hand, the person who misbehaves, causes a defect in himself. This has to do with the enormity of the crime, and so in relation with the crime so too is the requirement for the purification processes.

Let us all be careful, whether the sin is big or small, it is still a sin.

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