Who is interested in the ‘drug of life’?

In our weekly Torah portion, one can find a long list of laws and regulations regarding how a person should behave in society. In fact, some of the most basic and well-known biblical moral codes originated in our ‘parasha’ {פרשה} (weekly Torah portion).

For example, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself’ (Leviticus 19:18) ‘You shall not go around as a slanderer among your people, and you shall not stand up against the life of your neighbor: I am the LORD.” (Leviticus 19:16)

An old Jewish Midrash {מדרש} (an old Jewish story with a lesson) tells us about a peddler who went from place to place and announced: “Who is interested in the drug of life?”

One time, an old rabbi heard the peddler outside of his window and asked him to come up and to sell him the ‘drug of life.’ Surprisingly, the peddler said that he would not sell this drug to people like the rabbi who study the Bible all day.

The rabbi insisted and asked again: “Please, give me the drug of life.’ Then the peddler took out a Bible from his bag and showed the old rabbi the following verses from Psalms:

”What man is there who desires life and loves many days, that he may see good? Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking deceit. Turn away from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.” (Psalm 34:11-15)

”You see,’ said the peddler, “It is all written in the Bible.” Then the rabbi told him: “I have been learning the Bible all my life and I have never understood the real meaning of these verses until you showed up and explained it so simply.”