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The Wisdom of Israel, by Edwin Collins, [1910], at


Rabbi Pinchas, in the name of Rabbi Reuben, uttered this Parable.

"There was a certain king who made a feast and invited to it all the wayfarers and strangers in his dominions; but he made a decree that every man should bring with him something to sit upon at the feast. Some brought with them beautiful and comfortable cushions, and some brought handsome but hard seats, and some brought sofas to recline upon, and some brought logs of wood, and some brought stones and boulders. The king provided everything for the nourishment and entertainment of all corners, and to adorn the court of the palace; but ordered that each man should sit, at the feast, on the couch or seat that he had made or brought for himself.

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"Then they who were sitting on logs, and stones, and other uncomfortable and ugly seats, grumbled at the king and said:

"'Is it to the honour of the king that we should be sitting here in such discomfort, on stones and bits of wood?'

"And when the king heard their complaints he said to them:

"'Is it not enough for you that you disgrace my palace with stones and logs, my palace that I have built and beautified at so much cost; but will you also insult me and fasten an accusation upon me? Your honour and splendour are such as you make for yourselves.'" Thus, in the world to come the wicked are adjudged to Gehinom, and they complain in loud anger against the Holy One, blessed be He, and say: "Behold we were hoping for the salvation of God, and this is what has come to us!"

And the Holy One, blessed be He, sayeth unto them: "In the world in which you were, were you not quarrelling and fighting against each other, and slandering one another, and doing all evil things; and were ye not contentious and acting with violence?" "Behold, all of you kindle a fire, and compass yourselves about with sparks." Therefore "you are only walking in the light of your own fire, and in the sparks that ye have kindled" (Is. l. 11). Perhaps you will say that you have this at my hands. It is not so; but you yourselves have made all this for yourselves, therefore, "you shall lie down in sorrow" (ibid.), "it is at your own hands that you suffer all this." The condition of your souls in the life to come,

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in the banquet of eternal splendour that God has provided, will be such as you prepare for yourselves.

Midrash Koheleth.

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