A Parable on Parables

This week’s parashah describes the clothes the Kohanim wore when they served in the Mishkan/Mikdash. The Torah says these clothes were “for glory and splendor,” and we well know that clothing has an enhancing effect. In this connection, I present the following Dubno Maggid parable, which relates to this enhancing effect. This parable appears in the Yiddish anthology Alle Mesholim fun Dubner Maggid, and the English translation was kindly provided by Dr. Mitchell Ginsberg. Dr. Ginsberg contacted me this very week asking if I knew where the parable appears in the Hebrew compilations of the Maggid’s commentaries. So far, I have not been able to locate it. If anyone has any information about this, we’ll be happy to have it. The parable is the Maggid’s response to someone asking why a parable has such power that it makes a strong effect on a person. Thus, it is a parable on parables.
Truth was once going around through the streets bare naked as when his mother had him, and so no one wanted to let him into his house. Whoever would encounter him would flee from him with terror. As Truth was going around in bitter anguish, he met Parable. And Parable was adorned in beautiful clothing of splendorous colors. Parable asked: “Tell me, Mr. Kinsman, why in the world are you winding around on the streets so downbeaten?” Truth answered: “Bad, brother. I’m already old, very old, and no one wants to know me.” Said Parable: “It’s not because you’re old that people don’t like you: look, here I am, also very old, and nevertheless the older I become, even more so do people like me. I’m just going to share a secret with you about folks. They like each thing to be adorned out and a little disguised. I’ll loan you some clothes like mine and you’ll see how people will like you too.” Truth followed the advice of Parable and adorned himself in Parable’s clothing. Since then, Truth and Parable go hand in hand and people like them both.
David Zucker, Site Administrator

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