A

king sat in his palace reading Sefer Tehillim. He was not a Jewish king, nor was he particularly kind to the Jews, but he begrudgingly admired their wisdom.

On this particular sunny afternoon, his eyes glanced at this pasuk: “A thousand years are in Your eyes like yesterday that has passed, like a watch of the night.”

The king pondered this for a moment. His eyebrows creased as he began to think deeply about this sentence. Try as he might, he could not figure out an explanation.

“Troubled, Your Highness?” a well-dressed servant inquired.

“Yes, actually. Listen to these words and tell me if you can understand them. ‘A thousand years are in your eyes like yesterday that has passed.’”

“Hmmm...”

“Does this make any sense to you?”

“No, but then again, I am only a servant. Shall I fetch your advisers, the wisest men in the entire land?”

“Yes. And fast.”

**************

The king’s three most trusted advisers assembled before him on that pleasant afternoon. There was Farush, a heavyset man with a notorious temper that was only matched by his appetite. Then there was Abbad, a tiny, bony man who spent most of his time attempting to read the constellations. Finally, there was Richard, a golden-haired, handsome man who was originally from another country.

“Alright, Farush, you’re up first. I’m going to read you these words and then you will enlighten me with your brilliance. Ready?”

“Always, Your Highness.”

 “‘A thousand years are in your eyes like yesterday that has passed.’”

Farush squinted his tiny eyes and blew heavily from his mouth. He wiggled and squirmed for a moment before responding.

“I’d like to explain this sentence by comparing it to the king’s daily morning meal.”

A few eyebrows went up.

“Our fires are not like Heavenly fires. To cook a delicious quail one needs to first pluck off the feathers, which takes a very long time, as we all know. Then, wood must be chopped, piled, and a fire kindled. Roasting the quail takes time too, and if you rush the spicing process the meat will be hard and unappetizing. Slowly, one must sprinkle salt upon every crevice of that most delectable, sweet bird and sloooowly it must be turned over the flames so that every inch is evenly cooked, and—”

“I didn’t ask for a recipe, Farush! Get to the point!”

Farush’s face flushed an ugly shade of purple and pink.

“I, uh, was just trying to paint a picture.”

“The only picture you’ve painted is you drooling over a quail! Now finish your words of... wisdom.”

“Sorry, Your Highness. Anyhow, the point is that G-d can cook birds and all other animals in one moment. And it will come out perfect. So the thousand days refer to the many steps of human cooking and the one moment refers to how fast G-d can get it done.”

“Are you hungry by any chance, Farush?” The king’s eyes narrowed. “Perhaps you missed your morning meal?”

Everyone could hear Farush’s stomach growl loudly.

“Uh, I did, as it so happens.”

“Farush, you’re fired.”

Farush departed in disgrace.

“Go ahead, Abbad. And your explanation better not be based on your understanding of the constellations. I want the actual meaning of these words!”

Abbad laughed nervously as he glanced down at the parchment he had just been scribbling on. Of course, his interpretation was about the constellations.

“Forget it, Abbad. I’ve heard my share of gobbledygook for today.”

“My turn?” Richard flashed a big, winning smile in the King’s direction.

“I’ll spare myself from your guesses, Richard. Instead, make yourself useful and travel to the only people in my country who can answer my question, the Jews. Bring me their wisest rabbi and make it quick!”

(Excerpted from Mishpacha Jr., Issue 760)