This too shall pass

I’ve noticed that this is a phrase I use often and in varied situations. I remember once when we were young my father telling me a story where this phrase was used or allegedly originated. Enter Wikipedia (God I love that site). Upon searching for this phrase I’ve discovered it has multiple stories explaining its origin, including the one my father used to tell me, so here goes.

The King Solomon version references the following parable:

One day Solomon decided to humble Benaiahben Yehoyada, his most trusted minister. He said to him, “Benaiah, there is a certain ring that I want you to bring to me. I wish to wear it for Sukkotwhich gives you six months to find it.” “If it exists anywhere on earth, your majesty,” replied Benaiah, “I will find it and bring it to you, but what makes the ring so special?” “It has magic powers,” answered the king. “If a happy man looks at it, he becomes sad, and if a sad man looks at it, he becomes happy.” Solomon knew that no such ring existed in the world, but he wished to give his minister a little taste of humility. Spring passed and then summer, and still Benaiah had no idea where he could find the ring. On the night before Sukkot, he decided to take a walk in one of the poorest quarters of Jerusalem. He passed by a merchant who had begun to set out the day’s wares on a shabby carpet. “Have you by any chance heard of a magic ring that makes the happy wearer forget his joy and the broken-hearted wearer forget his sorrows?” asked Benaiah. He watched the grandfather take a plain gold ring from his carpet and engrave something on it. When Benaiah read the words on the ring, his face broke out in a wide smile. That night the entire city welcomed in the holiday of Sukkot with great festivity. “Well, my friend,” said Solomon, “have you found what I sent you after?” All the ministers laughed and Solomon himself smiled. To everyone’s surprise, Benaiah held up a small gold ring and declared, “Here it is, your majesty!” As soon as Solomon read the inscription, the smile vanished from his face. The jeweler had written three Hebrew letters on the gold band: _gimel, zayin, yud_, which began the words “_Gam zeh ya’avor_” — “This too shall pass.” At that moment Solomon realized that all his wisdom and fabulous wealth and tremendous power were but fleeting things, for one day he would be nothing but dust.


17 thoughts on “This too shall pass

  1. Thanks Juka for the post,essara7a geh fe wa2toh.
    right now am alone at the office..seond day of work,everybody else is either lunch-breaking, smoking cigarrettes or working.
    I am dead bored like any new job newcomer..with nothing to do but reading assignments..
    I am having trouble finding prospect friends ..
    But Guess what..This Too Shall Pass!

  2. AA: Top of the morning to ya! Thanks, would it be too early to discuss a benefits package 😛

    GJoe: I’ve been hearing so much about you I actually can’t wait to meet you in person. Starting out in the career world is tough, all the best to you, and yes this too shall pass. Funny thing is this was written with our common friend in mind 🙂

  3. This phrase is one of my favorites.. heard it from one of my dearest radio presenters sometime ago..
    when I’m happy, it reminds me that this happiness will soon vanish.. and when I’m sad, it reminds me that there will be always happy times to come..

    However, I know a different version of the story (that of Abraham Lincoln)..

    The Abraham Lincoln version goes something like this:
    It is said an Eastern monarch once charged his wise men to invent him a sentence, to be ever in view, and which should be true and appropriate in all times and situations. They presented him the words: “And this, too, shall pass away.” How much it expresses! How chastening in the hour of pride! How consoling in the depths of affliction! Abraham Lincoln, Address to the Wisconsin State Agricultural Society, Milwaukee, WI, September 30, 1859

  4. This phrase always reminds me of my best friend’s wedding. I always use it to console myself when i’m down. Liked this version of the story though. Now “This too shall pass” will always have a good side to it to me.

  5. Pingback: This too shall pass

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