“The sage, Rabbi Yisrael Kagan (1838-1933), known as the Chafetz Chaim, was once visited by a wealthy admirer. When the visitor entered the rabbi’s tiny home he got the shock of his life: The living room was furnished with nothing but an old table and rickety bench. The kitchen was tiny and primitive.
There were no modern amenities at all. The man turned to the Chafetz Chaim and asked him: “How do you live like this? Where are all your possessions?”
The Chafetz Chaim asked him: “How did you get here?” “By coach” the visitor replied. The Chafetz Chaim went outside to look at the carriage that brought his visitor to him. After examining the carriage, the Chafetz Chaim commented to his guest: “I don’t see a dining room, kitchen, or even a bed inside of this thing!” “But Rabbi, I am just traveling through your town. Travellers don’t bring their beds and kitchens with them!”
The Chafetz Chaim answered: “I too am traveling…Traveling through this world to the World to Come. This lifetime is temporary – why should I amass amenities and possessions?”
This is the lesson of Sh’mitta – the Year of Rest: Every seventh year, no planting or harvesting is done. After seven times seven, there is a Year of Jubilee. Life is temporary, almost fragile. We are just passing through.”
As I prepare to leave, it might be worth reminding myself that I have been here for six years. Over that time, I have acquired quite a number of ‘things’