Always ReadyJune 19, 2012 - 5:00 am
“Always be clothed in white, and always anoint your head with oil.” — Ecclesiastes 9:8
How would you live differently if you knew that this day would be your last?
The Talmud shares with us a meaningful exchange between a teacher and his students. Rabbi Eliezer told his students, “Repent one day before your death.” His students asked him, “Does a person know when he will die?” To which he replied, “Then he should repent today, maybe he will die tomorrow! This way, all his days will be full of repentance!”
Rabbi Eliezer successfully got his students to realize that since we never know which day is our last, its best to live every single day like it could be. King Solomon expresses the very same idea in Ecclesiastes: “Always be clothed in white, and always anoint your head with oil.”
The Talmud gives us an allegory to help us understand this verse. A king invited his servants to a great feast, but he didn’t tell them when it was going to happen. The smart ones got ready right away and put on their finest clothing. They waited patiently just outside the entrance to the palace in anticipation of the king.
The foolish ones, however, remained in their regular clothing and continued to do what they would normally do on any other day. They assumed that they would have plenty of time. Suddenly, the king announced that the feast was about to begin. The foolish servants were nowhere near ready, and only the smart ones were able to attend. Only the servants that prepared were able to enjoy the grand celebration with the king.
Life is one long preparation for a big feast with the Master of the World. We could be called to attend this feast at any moment; none of us knows our day of death. If we are one of the smart ones, we won’t wait to get ready. We will live each day with passion, meaning, and purpose.