SAUCIER — Following his dreams


There is an old story in the Jewish Hasidic tradition of the Rabbi Eizik, son of Yekel.

He was a poor rabbi who lived in Cracow.

One night, Rabbi Eizik had a dream. In this dream, he was led to a certain bridge in Prague, under which was buried a treasure.

At first, he was amused. When the dream reappeared, the rabbi became curious. When he dreamt it a third time, he scrounged what little money he could and headed for Prague.

When he arrived in the city, he found the bridge in his dream. To his dismay, though, guards were posted under the bridge.

Rabbi Eizik knew he would never get past the guards, but he went to the bridge every day and thought about the treasure beyond his reach.

One day, the captain of the guard approached him.

“What are you doing here?” he asked. “I see you here all the time, staring under the bridge. Is something wrong?”

The rabbi, feeling the treasure was hopelessly lost, decided to tell the man the truth.

He related to the captain his recurring dream and his journey from Cracow to Prague to find its treasure.

“You stupid little man,” the captain berated, “walking all those miles, thinking you would find the treasure in your dream.”

“I can tell you about those crazy dreams,” he continued.

“I had one like yours. My dream revealed a treasure buried under a stove in a room in Cracow. The dream even told me that the room belonged to a Jewish man named Eizik who was the son of a man named Yekel.

“I was tempted to go, but then I realized that half of the men in Cracow are named Eizik and the other half are called Yekel.

“Even if there was a treasure,” the captain laughed, “I would never find this Eizik, son of that Yekel.”

Rabbi Eizik bowed humbly to the guard, turned around and went home. Back in his room, he moved the stove, dug deep in the floor and found the treasure, which he used to build a House of Prayer.

In Martin Buber’s The Book of Man, a rabbi explains this story: “There is something you cannot find anywhere in the world, not even at the zaddik’s (Hasidic spiritual leader’s), and there is, nevertheless, a place where you can find it.”

Jesus put it more succinctly: “The kingdom of God is within you.”

But you still have to dig.