A Jewish folktale holds that the wisest of kings, King Solomon, felt his most trusted minster, Benaiah ben Yehoyada, needed a lesson in humility. So one day, he asked his minister to find him a ring that he could wear for Sukkot that could make a happy person sad, and make a sad person happy. King Solomon doubted that his minister would be able to ever find such a ring, and surely not in such a short amount of time.
Yet his faithful minister set out, searching the kingdom, but to no avail. Returning in time for the holiday, the minister was passing though an impoverished neighborhood in Jerusalem, headed back to the palace, when he noticed an elderly man on the ground, sitting upon a threadbare rug, selling some odd little pieces of jewelry.
The minister explained to the man the challenge the king had assigned him, and told him of his search, but with no luck. The older man smiled and handed him a ring, which the minister promptly took back to the palace. King Solomon assembled his court and called the minister before him, smiling at the thought of his victory. The minister handed him a ring with a small inscription, upon which reading, the king was immediately humbled. This necklace read, “Gam Zeh Ya’avor” (This, Too, Shall Pass).
When we’re in need of comfort that we’ll get through something, or that something won’t last forever, we often find comfort in this expression. Nothing is permanent, the hard times won’t last forever, and we will have happiness once again. The expression honors the past, what someone has been though, while looking to the future with a heartfelt hope that new blessings and joys are ahead of us.
And yet, Maimonides reminds us (in Regimen of Health, III) that we shouldn’t only focus on the troubled times, looking for comfort in times of grief, but we should also be aware of good times, celebrating little moments with gratitude.
Looking for a ring as beautiful as King Solomon’s inspiration? The Western Wall Collection by Liza Shtromberg Jewelry is made from an imprint of the stone texture at the Kotel in Jerusalem. It is a special way to keep the Western Wall close to you and will quickly become a classic in your jewelry box. Available in sterling silver and rose, white, and yellow gold, with shiny or matte finish, and can be customized with gemstones or personalized with engraving.
Wearing a Gam Zeh Ya’avor ring can be a meaningful reminder of the value in living a full life of gratitude, appreciating and celebrating the hard moments, knowing they make the good times even sweeter.
May you wear your jewelry in good health and in stormy skies, resting assured that “this, too, shall pass.”