Legend has it that a man once got into trouble with his family. He decided to go down the lake and spends the night on his little boat. Now the boat was tied to the dock both bow and aft with ropes. In the middle of the night the fog rolled in over the lake and one of the ropes came loose. The man in his little boat floated into the middle of the lake. When he awoke very early in the morning, the sky was grey the lake was silver and he couldn’t see the shore.
He looked around and saw that he had no oars with which to row the boat, nor a motor to push him to shore. He looked at the rope still knotted to the cleat on the rear. He pulled on it a little and found it tense under his grip. It’s tied up somewhere, but with the fog he could not see the rope’s end.
So there he was in this little boat on the grey of the water under a grey sky, with a twisted cord going off into the distance. He missed his family, he wanted to go home. He began to pull on the rope. And slowly hand-over-hand pulled the rope into the boat a little at a time.
Now you should know that when you are on the water, and you can’t see the horizon and you’re moving slowly, how do you know you’re going anywhere? It’s all very confusing. The water slips under the keel, but are you making any real progress? It’s hard to tell. All this man had in his little boat was the rope and the water. He felt he wasn’t going anywhere.
But slowly, ever so slowly, the world began to appear before him in monstrous shapes and shadows. The shape of the dock lurched out first, then the curve of the shoreline emerged from the grey, and finally the lights of his own porch, whipping under the fog light devilish eyes. When the man finally bumped into the dock, he felt that the world was different and strange. He felt as if he’d seen eternity only to come home again.
Walking up the path he turns the key and opens the lock. There waiting for him at the breakfast table was his family. As if nothing had happened. He smiled and said he was sorry, so very sorry. They said I love you. He said I love you.
This High Holidays, as we are about to begin, let us know that We are all in this together, this little boat, we call life. This little boat we call the world. Let us reach for our life line, and pull the world closer, our families closer, our friends closer. Let us reach cross the divide, let us move heaven and earth by moving each other so that we can reach the shore, we can reach back home, we can make a life together in love.
Based on a story of Leon de Modena’s (early 17th Century Italian darshan)