When the king replied that the bird had specified the water to be strictly for him alone, the prophet advised him not to drink any of it and to pour the water out.
He further advised the astonished king to give the matter some somber thought and to face the reality that his children, family members and friends would all eventually leave this world, and that he, the king, would remain here forever, possibly even against his will — for none of the departed would be returning to this world and the king would be left standing alone, like a tree whose fruit have fallen and whose branches are dry and brittle.
“Moreover,” warned the prophet, “the people who will inhabit the earth hundreds and thousands of years from now will be worlds apart from those you are acquainted with and may not even desire or regard you as their monarch.
“You will yet rue the day you allowed the water of eternal life to touch your lips, and you will wish for death in order to unite with your loved ones in the next world, to sit with them under the wings of the Holy Presence of G-d.”
Shlomo HaMelech perceived the sagacity of the old prophet and determined he would spill the water out and keep the pitcher as a reminder for the future… but as the king returned to his garden, he saw the little bird flying off with the pitcher in its mouth.
From that time on, Shlomo HaMelech vanquished all thoughts of eternal life and joyfully thanked Hashem for the years bequeathed him to spend with his nearest and dearest.
May you be equally blessed — as you drink the waters of our holy Torah and thereby gain eternal life in the World to Come.
Wishing all readers a wonderful and insightful Shavuos!
About the Author: We encourage women and men of all ages to send in their personal stories via email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by mail to Rachel/Chronicles, c/o The Jewish Press, 4915 16th Ave., Brooklyn, N.Y. 11204. If you wish to make a contribution and help agunot, your tax-deductible donation should be sent to The Jewish Press Foundation. Please make sure to specify that it is to help agunot, as the foundation supports many worthwhile causes.
If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.