King Solomon reigned in ancient Israel with great wisdom and extraordinary wealth. There are countless legends stories that are told about him. Here’s one:
Solomon once made a request of his trusted minister Benaya ben Yehoyada. He said to him, “I’ve heard rumors about a certain ring with extraordinary magical properties. It is said that if a happy person looks upon it, he becomes sad. And if a sad person looks upon it, he’ll become happy. Please find it and bring it to me.”
Benaya set off throughout Solomon’s kingdom on a quest for the ring. Spring passed, and then summer, but his search proved fruitless. After many months, he was ready to give up and return to Jerusalem, sorrowful but empty-handed. Before returning to the palace, he decided to walk through one of the poorest quarters of the city. And as fate would have it, he passed by a merchant who had begun to set out the day’s wares.
“Have you, by any chance, heard of a magic ring that will make a happy wearer forget his joy and a broken-hearted wearer forget his sorrows?” he asked the merchant.
The merchant thought for a moment. Then he took out a plain gold band and began to engrave it. He showed it to Benaya, who read the words on the ring and then broke out in a wide smile. He hurried to the king’s palace with excitement and humility.
“Well, my friend,” said Solomon, “have you discovered what I sent you to find?” Benaya held up the small gold ring and declared, “Here it is, your majesty.”
Solomon looked carefully and read the words that the merchant had inscribed: gam zeh ya’avor: “This, too, shall pass.”
So it is with us. Jewish spiritual wisdom encourages us to keep perspective, and to draw upon wellsprings of inner strength in times of struggle. Even as we find ourselves temporarily isolated and distant, we have the capacity to emerge stronger, wiser, and more empathetic for our experiences—if only we remain resilient. This, too, shall pass.