The Treasure

 

 

The pious Rabbi, Eisik of Cracow had a dream, which told him to go to Prague, and there under a bridge that led to the royal Castle, he would discover a great treasure. 

 

The dream was repeated three times and the Rabbi decided to set out for Prague.

 

When he arrived in Prague, he found the bridge. However soldiers guarded the bridge day and night so that Eisik did not dare begin to dig. 

 

As he walked around, he attracted the attention of the captain of the guards. The captain asked him if he had lost something. 

 

With great simplicity, the Rabbi recounted his dream. The officer burst out laughing: ‘Really, my poor man’ he said, ‘have you worn out your shoe leather on account of a dream?’ 

 

The officer said that he too had heard a voice in a dream: ‘ It spoke to me about Cracow, ordering me to go there and look for a great treasure in the house of a Rabbi whose name is Eisik, Eisik son of Jekel. The treasure would be discovered in a dusty corner, buried behind the stove.’

 

But the officer had no faith in dreams; he was a rational man. 

 

The Rabbi bowed deeply, thanked him and returned with all haste to Cracow. He dug in the abandoned corner of his house and discovered the treasure, which put an end to his poverty.

 

(Heinrich Zimmer comments on the story. Real treasure, that which can put an end to our poverty is never far away. One should not seek it in far off lands because it lies buried in the most intimate places in our own house that is to say within our own hearts. It is behind the stove, the warm, giving centre that controls our existence, the heart of our being, if we only know how to dig. And then there is the strange and constant fact that it is only after a pious journey to a far-off region, to a foreign country, to new lands, that the meaning of this interior voice, guiding our search, can be revealed to us. And we can add another strange fact – the one who reveals to us the meaning of our mysterious journey may be a foreigner, someone from another faith or another race.)