Where Are You Going?
I have a student – one among many – who explained, that while a certain life choice looked good in theory, he at least is fortunate that his subconscious continues to reject the choice, even though the choice he’s considering seems admirable to him and to some others. This leaves my student “stuck” and in a confused position; consciously wanting something that he evidently knows deep down is not natural for him and thus is subconsciously rejecting it, but unable to move away from his conscious attraction to the glory and benefits the choice appears to offer.
Having arrived in a place in life where he (thinks he) has an opportunity to choose whatever he wants and whichever way to go, he is left with the dilemma: the place he wanted to go is bad for him. He is still fortunate to be free to choose something else, something healthy for himself, so, what now? Yesterday he summed up his situation and asked me for guidance through a comment, saying he, “really wasn’t sure where he was going” in life.
Rav Yonatan Eybeschutz (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jonathan_Eybeschutz) was walking towards his synagogue one day when a local nobleman riding rode up alongside him on his horse and asked him the same question. “Where are you going?”, he asked the Rav.
Rabbi Eybeschutz responded, “I don’t know.”
The nobleman, who up until now had enjoyed a mutually respectful relationship with the Rabbi was deeply offended by the Rabbi’s answer, which he deemed blasé and disrespectful. In a fury, he had the Rabbi seized and thrown into prison.
A short time later he came to visit the Rabbi in his cell and said, “You know I have always had great respect for you. I thought you respected me as well; you have always treated me with respect – until now! How is it that you could answer my question with such stupid words? Do you take me for an idiot? Was it beneath your dignity to answer my question honestly?
“I answered you truthfully,” Rabbi Eybeschutz responded, “I thought I was on the way to the synagogue, but look where I ended up!”
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