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Archive for August, 2014

This Too Shall Pass

Professor Shnayer Z. Leiman wrote:

“This too shall pass” is an adage that has provided succor for many a person in distress. It is a powerful reminder that life does not stand still, and that one must always anticipate change, hopefully for the better.

Much mystery surrounds this adage. We know almost nothing about its origin, whether in its Hebrew or non-Hebrew versions. Surprisingly, the phrase “this too shall pass” occurs nowhere in Scripture, Talmud, or Midrash.

Indeed, it seems to appear nowhere in all of Jewish literature prior to the nineteenth century. In that century, the phrase was attributed—apparently in non-Jewish sources—to King Solomon.

In the twentieth century, the connection to King Solomon became part of an elaborate legend that was often told, but rarely recorded.

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“This too shall pass” also appears in the works of Persian Sufi poets, such as Sanai and Attar of Nishapur.

Attar records the fable of a powerful king who asks assembled wise men to create a ring that will make him happy when he is sad, and vice versa. After deliberation the sages hand him a simple ring with the words “This too will pass” etched on it, which had the desired effect.

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Paul taught in 2 Corinthians 4:

17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;

18 While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.

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