The Special Ingredient

The Emperor was hunting in the woods and a storm came so he found a house to stay in for the night with an old couple. The sun was going down so the old couple lit their two candles for the Sabbath. The Emperor thought they were foolish and odd characters, but soon after he was singing and telling stories too. They all ate soup for dinner and the Emperor said “This soup tastes wonderful. How did you make it?” The old couple were happy to tell the Emperor how they made it. The next day the Emperor went home and the cooks made the soup but it didn’t taste as good. He watched the cooks next time to make sure they didn’t make a mistake. The soup tasted ordinary. The Emperor said “Something is missing. That old couple didn’t tell me everything. They left out some special ingredient.” He then went to their home again to know. When he got there he said “I tried to make your soup, but it didn’t taste as good. Tell me your special ingredient.” The old couple were happy to tell him. The woman said “First, you were tired and troubled.” The man said “Second, you rested and relaxed.” The woman said “Third, you enjoyed good company, good stories of Torah, and lots of song and laughter.” The Emperor was confused. The couple said “You were prepared in a special way for the soup. Thats our ingredient.” The Emperor said “My good friends, let me visit you again and again and share the taste of happiness.”

…Do not desire the table of kings, for your table is greater than theirs, and your crown is greater than theirs, and faithful is your Employer to pay you the rewards of your work. (Pirkei Avos 6:5)

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