A Narrow Bridge
Two Rabbi’s were making a great journey to meet each other. They each possessed something the other needed for their journey and teaching in this world. So before they set out on their travels they each had been given a map to follow, provisions and funds. Finally after many, many months of travel they arrived at their destination, but with one problem. Each Rabbi was on opposites sides of a great ravine, one on the east side and one on the west. All that was between them was a narrow bridge linking the two sides. It seemed a very great distance to the bottom and the distance of the bridge seemed too far even for communication or safely cross. They checked their map again and the map told them to use the bridge that was provided for them. Suddenly the Rabbi from the west realized the Rabbi from the east had already crossed the bridge and was waiting for him. Yet each time the Rabbi from the west approached the bridge he filled with fear and would not go nearer. The fear in his heart spilled into the fear of his being and he did nothing. For days this went on. Finally the Rabbi from the east, who understood the language of the birds, caught a small bird and gave it a message from Pirkei Avot, Ethics of the Fathers, to bring to the Rabbi from the west. “The day is long, the work is arduous and the Master demanding!!!” With that the Rabbi from the west summoned his strength and transformed from those words his fear into great faith. He approached the bridge a different man. When he stepped onto the bridge with full faith the bridge suddenly shrank in size, as did the distance between each of them and even the distance to the bottom seemed only a few feet. The Rabbi from the west crossed the bridge in a few simple steps and suddenly they were standing face to face. Then the Rabbi from the west side remembered the words of Rabbi Nachman of Breslov, “The world is a narrow bridge, the main thing is not to be afraid.”
The path from the head to the heart is only a single step – but you must be brave enough to take it.
Eric Sander Kingston