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The Most Important Thing in Life

A tale about nurturing the tree of life

There is a young tree growing on our block, right by our house. When I look at it, I think: "You should grow tall and strong, so that everyone can bathe in your shade."

Every day I take a bucket and fill it with water, then bring it outside and water the ground around the tree. One day, as I was watering the tree, a young boy came up to me.

"What are you doing?" he asked.

I explained that I am helping the tree to grow.

"But you're not watering the tree, you're watering the ground," the boy exclaimed in surprise. "If you want the tree to drink, you should pour the water right on top of it!"

"In order for the tree to grow, I need to give water to its roots," I answered.

"But you can't even see them!"

"That's right - the roots are hidden in the ground, but I know that they're there. I water the ground so that the water can reach the roots. If we nurture the roots, our tree will grow big and strong, and then everyone on our block can enjoy its shade."

The boy was not convinced:

"But how do you know that the roots are in the ground? I can't even see them, but if what you say is true then they're the most important part of the tree!"

"There are wise books that tell us about it," I replied.

As the boy walked away contemplating this new information, an interesting thought came to mind:

"What if I'm the same way? What if the most important thing in my life is hiding from me, just like the roots of this tree?"

When I came home, I went straight to my grandpa. He listened to my ideas and smiled:

"You're right. At first we don't see or feel the most important thing in our life. But there are sages that tell us about it. They're called Kabbalists, and in their books they explain how we should nurture the roots of our life, so that we can grow properly."

I thought about what he said, and then I drew a picture and gave it to grandpa as a present.

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