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The Fox in the Vineyard

The Fox in the Vineyard


A sly fox passed a lovely vineyard. A tall, thick fence surrounded the vineyard on all sides. As the fox circled around the fence, he found a small hole in the fence, barely large enough for him to push his head through. The fox could see what luscious grapes grew in the vineyard, and his mouth began to water. But the hole was too small for him. So what did the sly fox do? He fasted for three days, until he became so thin that he managed to slip through the hole.

Inside the vineyard, the fox began to eat to his heart’s content. He grew bigger and fatter than ever before. Then he wanted to get out of the vineyard. But alas! The hole was too small again. So what did he do? He fasted for three days again, and then just about managed to slip through the hole and out again.

Turning his head towards the vineyard, the poor fox said: “Vineyard, O vineyard! How lovely you look, and how lovely are your fruits and vines. But what good are you to me? just as I came to you, so I leave you . . .”

And so, our sages say, it is also with this world. It is a beautiful world, but—in the words of King Solomon, the wisest of all men—just as man comes into this world emptyhanded, so he leaves it. Only the Torah he studied, the mitzvot he performed, and the good deeds he practiced are the real fruits which he can take with him.

From the Midrash
Excerpted from The Complete Story of Tishrei, published and copyright by Kehot Publication Society, Brooklyn NY
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natasha kowalski manchester uk July 8, 2015

It could also mean things that give you pleasure in our physical world after too much indulgance end up leaving you feeling empty. Reply

Maria July 26, 2014

Love it! Not the end I expected. Beautiful lesson Reply

fro NZ July 22, 2014

A clever funny analogy, a profound lesson of life. Brilliant. Thank you. Reply

Rosina Colon City July 21, 2014

He could have leave Full and Filled!! I read this story and I ask myself; what would have happened if the sly fox had asked permission and went through the front door and the Generous owner of the Vineyard, would let him eat to his heart content...He would not have to fast to eat it or to leave..he would still leave the grapes, in the vineyard, but he would leave Full filled!
He could have ask! Maybe he is not so sly after all. Reply

Stan Canada November 22, 2012

Perfect Great, great, great...beautiful !!! Reply

Rebekah Yesilevsky Mar Vista, CA via September 17, 2009

Take with or leave behind I ponder the meaning of 'take with'. I had always considered that departure from life would be empty handed, while hoping that by striving to be thoughtfully kind and self-aware in each moment- seeking to perform mitzvot- may allow us not to 'take', but to 'leave' behind: the effects that each forethought-act of kindness creates for those who remain when we have gone to act upon by our examples as we follow/read examples of others. Reply

IcheMair Shmiel Yoisef May 18, 2009

THAT'S where Aesop got it from!! Reply

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