Bearing the Truth
Long ago, in the freezing Siberian forests, a small village of Jewish peasants lived. Eking out a miserable livelihood by making honey, they had beehives spread about the dense forest. The honey was collected, purified and bottled locally by the villagers and then shipped to distributors in other parts of the country. Honey was their only business; everyone in the village was tied in some way to the manufacture of pure bees' honey.
Since there was no other manner in which the villagers could make a living, you could imagine the concern when several of their beehives were found destroyed. Pieces were all over the ground and the villagers were in a quandary to explain the odd occurrence.
Most opinions were that a bear was roaming in the area. Groups were set up to patrol the hives to thwart off a possible bear attack.
One evening, a group of villagers who were patrolling in the forest came upon the bear. Seeing a gigantic bear, fierce and mean, of gigantic stature sauntering up to a bee's hive sent the men scampering back to the village. Scared and trembling from a narrow escape with an encounter with this rugged tyrant of the forest, the men, wet with perspiration, related their brief sighting.
"He is the size of a tree!"
"He is enormous!" echoed another.
"He can knock over a man with one wave of his giant paw!" cried another.
"What shall we do?" answered the worried villagers. "If the bear continues unabated, we will have no livelihood! How will we ever live through the rough Siberian winter?" they cried.
The villagers decided to set up a committee comprising all the wisest men in the village to work out an answer to their communal problem. Only the select men in the village will give themselves over to a solution to rid the village of the dangers of the bear.
After many days of deliberation, the small group of wise men came up with an idea. They set up a bee's hive in an easily assessable location to attract the bear. However, a giant branch of a very large tree was swung some 180 degrees and held in place with a sturdy rope. The rope was connected to a pedal that was fastened in front of the bee's hive. When the bear came to get the honey, he would step on the large wooden pedal which would release the large branch which in turn would swing back with a tremendous force into the very spot that the bear was standing giving the bear a heavy blow to the head.
This the villagers hoped would be sufficient to knock the bear unconscious and allow the villagers time to attack and kill the bear.
The villagers sent a small patrol to wait silently in a nearby tree to see what would happen when the bear came to take the honey. In a short time the huge fierce bear limbered into the view of the frightened villagers. As the bear approached the bee's hive, the bear trod upon the trap pedal and released the tree branch.
The tree branch swung free and traveled with a tremendous velocity and wham, collided directly with the bear's head. The bear was knocked over and stunned, but by no means knocked out by the blow. However, the gigantic bear was angry at the tree branch. It swung its giant paw and hit the branch with such colossal power that it swung it from one side to the other.
The branch upon reaching a distance of no less than the 180 degrees from its original position recoiled and swung back at the bear. Bamb! The branch inflicted another immense blow on the bear's head, knocking him down once more. The bear, even more angry at the insolent tree swung back at the branch with even more force, pelting the branch with both of its giant paws, forcing the thick branch to swing once more half way around the tree.
Again the massive branch recoiled and slammed into the bear's sore and tender head. The bear, now staggering from the mighty blows, picked itself up and once again hit the branch. The same scene was repeated over and over again until the mighty bear, tottering under the weight of massive blows to its head, finally picked itself up and crept away, never to return to this area.
Such is the case of those who get involved in life's many difficulties. Misfortunes and losses come to every life. Some people get involved in the momentary bruise and forfeit their personal happiness by mourning over their misfortunes.
The smart bear will take the smack on the head, not get involved in a personal vendetta, ignore the ignominy of the situation and keep advancing towards his goals.
Its not the misfortunes that get us down which can ruin a life,
but letting ourselves get down over misfortunes that ruin our lives.
from the July 2002 Edition of the Jewish Magazine