Perfect timing for this time of the year between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur on the importance of focusing on the most important things in life that can actually help you instead of those that can’t.
This is from the book called “Ahavath Chesed” from the Chafetz Chaim, Page 210 in the chapter “Arranging One’s Affairs”:
The Midrash aptly illustrates this situation with a parable: “There was once a man who had three friends. He loved the first very much, the second somewhat less. The third, he neither loved nor esteemed. Once the king issued a summons for this man, and the royal officer hastened to bring him to the palace. The man was terribly afraid. He suspected that he had been slandered and that he would be put to death innocently. All he could think of was to call and ask his good and reliable friend, the one he loved most, to go with him and testify to his innocence before the king. He went to this friend and told him what had happened, but the friend refused to go with him, and paid no heed to him. He left and went to his second friend. This one agreed to accompany him on the way to protect him from untoward incidents, but refused to appear before the king. As soon as they would reach the royal palace, be would leave and go home. The man then went to his third friend, whom he esteemed not at all, and asked him to go with him before the king. This friend replied: ‘Don’t be afraid. I’ll go with you; I’ll come to the king and testify on your behalf, and you will be saved.’ He went, spoke up for the man, and saved him from harm. The first, most beloved of all friends, is man’s money. It leaves him on the day he dies and gives him nothing to take with him, as it says (Psalms 49.18): ‘His wealth shall not descend after him.’ The second friend represents his sons and relatives who accompany him to the grave, then take their leave and depart. The third friend, the one who testified on his behalf, is his repentance and good deeds. These accompany him and testify on his behalf, as it says (Isaiah. 58.8): ‘And your righteousness shall go before you.’ The King who issued the summons in the King of Kings, the Holy One, blessed be He, from Whose judgment no man can escape except by Torah and ma’asim tovim (good deeds).”
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