Epiphany. . .
Soon after I met my husband Doug, he told me my first Hasidic (Jewish mystical) story. “It’s a tale I have spent years grappling with,” he said. Here is the story:
Once, the great Hassidic leader, Rabbi Zusia, came to his followers. His eyes were red with tears, and his face was pale. “Rabbi Zusia,” they asked, “What's the matter? You look frightened! ” Rabbi Zusia said, “The other day, I had a vision. In it, I learned the question that the angels will one day ask me about my life.”
The followers were puzzled. “Rabbi Zusia, you are pious! You are scholarly and humble! You have helped so many of us! What question about your life could be so terrifying that you would be frightened to answer it?
” Rabbi Zusia turned his gaze to heaven. “I have learned that the angels will not ask me, ‘Zusia, why weren't you a Moses, leading your people out of slavery?’”
His followers responded. “So, what will they ask you?” “And I have learned,” Zusia sighed, “that the angels will not ask me, ‘Zusia, why weren't you a Joshua, leading your people into the promised land?’” His followers looked at their rabbi, pleading with their eyes, “But rabbi, what will they ask you?”
The great rabbi looked in the eyes of each of them, one at a time. Then he said, “They will say to me, Zusia, there was only one thing that no power of heaven or earth could have prevented you from becoming.’ They will say, ‘Zusia, why weren't you Zusia?’”
Doug’s story moved me to ask myself, “If my job on earth is to be myself, who am I? How can I learn who I am? How can I become my true self?”