The LORD said to Moses, “Chisel out two stone tablets like the first ones, and I will write on them the words that were on the first tablets, which you broke.” — Exodus 34:1
The Torah portion for this week is Ki Tisa, which means “when you raise up,” from Exodus 30:11—34:35, and the Haftorah is from 1 Kings 18:20–39.
There is an old Hasidic tale about a poor God-fearing Jew who lived in the city of Prague. One night, the man had a dream that he traveled to Vienna and there, at the base of a bridge leading to the king’s palace, he found a buried treasure. At first the man dismissed the dream as nonsense, but as the dream persisted, the man began to believe that perhaps its message was true.
Eventually, the man set out for Vienna and found the bridge that led to the king’s palace. The problem was that the bridge was heavily guarded by armed men. The man paced back and forth near the bridge for days not knowing what to do. Finally, one of the guards demanded to know what he was up to. The poor man was frightened and told the guard all about his dream and his buried treasure.
The guard burst out laughing and said, “That’s ridiculous. If I followed my visions, I’d be on my way to Prague right now. Just last night I had a dream about a treasure buried under the house of a poor Jew in Prague!” With that, the Jew returned home, dug in his cellar, and indeed found a treasure. It had been right under him all along.
The Jewish sages teach that when God commanded Moses to carve out new tablets for the Ten Commandments to replace the ones that were broken, Moses had trouble finding sapphire from which to make them. According to Jewish tradition, God appeared to him and told him that the sapphire was underground right beneath Moses’ own tent! Like the poor man in the story, Moses had looked everywhere but where he was for what he needed. And like that man, Moses found that what he needed was with him all along.
Many of us are just like the poor man in the story. We look for fulfillment all over the world. We think we can find it in a new car. Or maybe in an exotic vacation. Perhaps in a new relationship. We can spend endless time and money searching. But the truth is that everything we need for fulfillment in our lives is already with us through our relationship with God.
As part of our daily prayers, Jews say every morning: “Blessed are you, God, King of the universe, who has given me all I need.” Everything we need for the place we are in life right now is already with us.
Before you go looking for buried treasure elsewhere, try digging first within yourself. What can you find? God. Peace. Love. Fulfillment. It’s all inside. We only need to dig a little deeper to find the treasure we have been seeking all along.
With prayers for shalom, peace,
Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein
Founder and President