Repentance and Atonement for Jews and Non-Jewsabracad, · Categories: externally authored, wise words
A fable about changing relationships
by Rabbi Allen S. Maller
Her mother once gave her a bag of nails and told her that every time she lost her temper or insulted somebody she must hammer a small nail into large tree in the back of their house.
The first day the girl hit 14 nails into the bark of the tree. Over the next few weeks, as she learned to control her anger, the number of nails hammered daily gradually dwindled. She discovered it was easier to hold her temper than to drive those nails into the tree.
Finally the day came when the girl didn't lose her temper at all. She told her mother about it and the mother suggested that the girl now pull out one nail for each day that she was able to hold her temper. The days passed. Finally, she told her mother that all the nails were gone.
The mother took her daughter by the hand and led her to the tree. She said, "You have done well, my daughter, but look at all the holes in the tree. This tree will never be the same. When you say things in anger, they leave a scar just like these." You can put a knife in a person and draw it out. It does not matter how many times you say I'm sorry, the wound is still there. A verbal wound is almost as bad as a physical one.“How can I fix the tree?” asked the girl. “Will it have to remain damaged forever?” (more…)