Rabbi Louise Jacobs, who was a well-known advisor to Britain’s think tanks during the cold war, told me the following amazing story some years ago.
His good friend Dr. Goldman attended the birth of a baby one Halloween. The poor child was badly deformed and frighteningly ugly and Dr Goldman took it to a side room immediately after the birth.
He pondered the problems the child would encounter in life if it survived. As he was agonizing over this, a nurse came in and said the mother was asking is the baby all right and could she now see it.
He was in turmoil: undecided over his professional oaths or whether to simply let the baby die.
The nurse searched his face for guidance and seeing he was troubled said the baby had other problems; among them a deformed spine with a severe hunchback, eyes that were too close together and a large protruding jaw.
With a sigh Doctor Goldman passed the baby to the nurse who then took him to a shocked and very upset mother.
Over the years he often wondered if the baby had survived and what became of him.
However with career success, many papers published and regular appearances on the lecture circuit, the baby simply became a troubling memory.
With the passing years, Dr Goldman realized he was burning the candle at both ends and his health was beginning to fail; he was feeling very weak and lethargic and his facial colour was growing stranger, his heartbeat was erratic and doctors were unable to provide a satisfactory diagnosis.
In short, his health was failing rapidly and when he was hospitalised Dr Goldman felt that his days might be numbered.
However, the doctors treating him told Dr Goldman that there was one specialist in his rare condition and if they could contact him he would be consulted over doctor’s condition.
Ten days went by and Dr Goldman grew anxious about his deteriorating health.
Then a ward nurse came in and told Dr Goldman the good news; the specialist in his condition had been contacted, had agreed to consultation and would soon be able to see him.
Some days later, Doctor was dozing when a nurse and the ward nurse opened the door to a man who was obviously the awaited specialist.
Dr Goldman sat up shocked in bed and stared for the specialist had a badly deformed spine with a prominent hunchback, a lop sided shoulder, eyes close together and a protruding jaw.
“I know you”, he said as he sat up in bed, I was at your birth one Halloween day.
“I know you were”, said the specialist, “that’s why I came”
We all at times in life have experienced similar events as this, we thought about a course of action without realizing the long term implications down the line, often many years later we reap a harvest for good or bad, with seeds sown long ago.
So think carefully this Halloween, and sow only seeds that will produce good healthy fruit, for many years later you may have to eat it.