The Princess Who Wanted to See G-d

By Reb Daniel Lev

“Why not!??” yelled the princess, “Why can’t you show me!??” The King looked down at his ten year-old daughter and felt the bittersweet conflict every parent goes through when they want to fulfill their child’s request and know that they cannot.

“My darling,” he pleaded, “I do not know how to show you G-d.” As soon as he spoke, he regretted it because, after the Queen’s recent death, he wanted to do what he could to provide for two parents. Looking into her frustrated face he recalled that his daughter, unlike most of the children in the court, did not cry. She just stood there before him, demanding a deity viewing. Then, he hit upon an idea. “I shall call upon some of my wisest advisors – perhaps they will show you G-d.”

As she nodded in assent, the King called his Royal Minister of Justice. “Minister,” he asked, “Can you show my daughter G-d?” After a quick moment the long, lanky official responded, “Why of course your Majesty,” and he invited the Princess to follow him and ascended one long staircase after another until they reached the near top of the palace. There they stood before a pair of tall, oak doors. “Here your Highness, behind these doors you shall see G-d.” He pushed the doors open to a gigantic room filled with bookshelves and books. “In this room is the accumulation of all the world’s diverse knowledges – surely you shall find G-d here.” The Princess looked at some of the books, noticed there were no comic books, and angrily shouted, “This isn’t G-d! It’s just a bunch of books! I want to see G-d!” The Minister brought her back to the King and profusely apologized.

The King then called his Royal Treasurer, who was a bit on the portly side, and asked him to show his daughter G-d. “Yes, of course your Majesty,” said the Treasurer, “come, your Highness, and I will show you what you seek.” He led her down one staircase after another until they stood before an iron door located in the bowels of the palace. It was dark and the Treasurer brought a wood torch. He pushed the heavy door open and lit the torches that lined the walls of a great chamber. The princess was faced with piles and piles of diamonds, emeralds, rubies, gold coins, silver chalices and every sort of bejeweled object of precious metal. “This chamber, your Highness,” said the Treasurer, “is filled with the wealth of the entire world. Certainly this is the power and grandeur of G-d!” After the Princess spent a little time handling the rubies and other gems, she exploded, “This is not G-d!!! It’s just a bunch of colored stones and metal. I want to see G-d, ‘gee-oh-dee,’ G-d!!” The Treasurer quietly returned her to her father, whispering into his ear, “I’m sorry your Majesty, but I’m afraid she may have mental problems!”

The King realized it was up to him to solve this problem. So, in the early evening, he dressed as a peasant and snuck out of the palace. As he rode an ordinary horse down the road, he hoped to discover a wise person who could show his daughter G-d. This did not take long, for as he traveled down the road, he saw a curious sight. There alongside the road was an old woman planting a carob tree. The King-peasant dismounted and spoke with the woman. “Pardon me, good woman,” he began, “but I was curious to know why you are planting this particular tree. Perhaps you know that it takes many years for it to bear fruit and, sadly, you may not be in this world when it produces.”

“Ah yes,” she said with a spark in her voice, “But many have planted trees before me, and I have benefitted. I thought to plant one to benefit those who come after me.” Well, the King instantly recognized a wise woman and asked her if she would come to the palace and show his daughter G-d. “Yes,” she responded, “I shall – but with these necessities: I need a room and certain furniture to put into it. No one but myself shall go into it. I also require a horse and carriage and permission to take the Princess to where I wish.” Although the King was a little unsure, he granted her these things. After preparing the room to her liking, the old woman invited the Princess into the carriage that waited outside the palace gates. “Let us take a little journey,” she said, “One that will eventually lead you to see G-d.” The Princess was skeptical, but she went along.

According the elder’s instructions, the carriage driver drove through the richest part of the capital city…then through the middle-class area…and the laborers district, until… he stopped at the outskirts of the city, where the poorest people lived in makeshift hovels and tents. When the wise woman and Princess stepped out of the carriage, they faced a rug-covered hovel. “This is disgusting,” kvetched the Princess, “I can’t see G-d here!”

“Patience,” whispered the woman, “You will see G-d soon enough.” Then she led the Princess into the hovel, where they saw an amazing sight. Facing them was a skinny little girl about the age of the Princess, sitting on a high stool with a blanket on her lap. She was stirring a large pot of soup and singing with great gusto, “La, la, la, la.” The girl was completely and joyfully lost in the tune.

Suddenly the Princess barked, “What the matter with you, don’t you see royalty standing before you! Rise up now and acknowledge your Princess!!” The girl stopped singing and put the spoon down. What was once a joyful face had now become sad and ashen. She carefully raised the blanket off of her lap to reveal that she had no legs. At that moment, the old woman guided the now bewildered Princess back to the carriage which made its way back to the palace. Once there, the old woman took the girl to the specially prepared room where they saw a chair facing a long wall carpet. The girl sat before this and the old woman gently said, “Now, now you will see G-d.” Instantly she pulled down the hanging to reveal a large wall mirror. As the Princess looked, she could see many tears flowing down her face.

“There,” said the old woman, “there you see G-d….deep within you…Now, what do you want to do with that vision?” After a few moments, the Princess wiped her face, went to her room to gather some of her favorite things, and to the kitchen to collect freshly cooked food, and, with the old woman, she returned by carriage to visit the singing girl.