This Too Shall Pass - The Story, The Meaning and You

This Too Shall Pass.

What does it mean, and where did these 4 words come from?

This is the Hebrew version of 'This Too Shall Pass'-- it reads, Gam Ze Ya'avor.


There are many stories, legends, and even quotes from famous people -- that use this simple phrase. A phrase with so much hope, passion, resilience and charm it truly isn't a phrase to pass by lightly.

From mental health and even the 12 step recovery program, to friends helping loved ones through challenging times, to even personal mantras said to oneself-- This Too Shall Pass.

What are the origins of This Too Shall Pass?

There are many "stories" or folkloric tales about where this saying has originated. It's best known as coming from King Solomon, who reigned in Israel from 970 to 931 BCE. He was a wise man, and was seeking knowledge on how to make a sad man happy and a happy man sad.

He requested from his minister, Benaiah, to bring him a ring with these magical powers. Well, Benaiah searched and searched all over for this ring. Most likely the King knew he would never find it, but Benaiah didn't give up.

He finally went into the slums of Jerusalem and found a craftsman who worked in metal. The craftsman turned to his grandfather with this odd request, who in turn went into his workshop and appeared with a ring.

This gold ring he brought out to the minister to present to the king had this phrase engraved on the inside of the ring, "This Too Shall Pass."

When presented to the King, he was dumbfounded. No one thought there could be such a thing that makes you stop in your path-- reflect on the past, the present and the future and remind you that the state you are in is not going to last forever.

Persian Folklore

A very similar tale is told by Persian Sufi poets Rumi and Fariddudun Attar. It also ends with a ring cast in gold (and rubies) with an inscription on the ring that says, 'This too shall pass.'

The fable reads like this-- a young, poor scholar is wandering the Maranjab desert and has no place to sleep and eat. A well-off farmer offers this young man shelter and food, but on the day of his departure when the young man asks about the farmer's kindness and hospitality his response is, "This too shall pass."

Years pass and the scholar visits the farmer, only to find him poor and disheveled, working as a low-grade servant. Floods had come and destroyed his prosperous lands, but not to fret, he tells the scholar for "this too shall pass."

The scholar ages and becomes famous and well-renowned in the area and moves back to the Maranjab desert. The king of the time had recently lost his wife and son during childbirth and was thoroughly depressed, crying himself to sleep every night. He sought out a ring that would cheer his spirits, appease his suffering.

People from all over tried to help, but nothing of importance resonated with with king. Then, the scholar, now not so young, was sought out to advise the king and perhaps suggest a phrase. Shortly thereafter, a ring appeared from the scholar with a phrase inscribed inside of the gold and ruby ring:

This too shall pass.


Abraham Lincoln--This Too Shall Pass

Photo credit: Simplicable

During a speech addressed to the Wisconsin State of Agricultural Society in 1859, Abraham Lincoln made reference to the folkloric tale of having one's wise men find a phrase to offer consolation. This phrase was...you guessed it, 'This Too Shall Pass.'

President Lincoln was referring to the debate over slavery, modern inventions in agriculture and the importance of farming and using the land and the labor of the land with intelligence. The point he was making was that, good or bad, history moves forward. Nothing remains the same. Things change every day.

Lessons of the Phrase: This Too Shall Pass

It is easy to find comfort and reassurance in the phrase 'This too shall pass' when you're going through times of distress, hardships and trouble.

The real lesson, however, lies in remembering these four words also during the good and happy times. To carry this advice forward as a very important reminder to value life and live it to its fullest.

Remember the wealthy Persian farmer as he remarked to the scholar about his wealth that this too shall pass? Meaning, appreciate what you have, for time is short. But, also learn from what we have. As Abraham Lincoln stated, learn from history because nothing stays the same. Things change every day, and yes, this too shall pass.

This Too Shall Pass Sterling Silver Bracelet

Do these words resonate with you? If they bring your comfort may we recommend this handmade, sterling silver bracelet found on Alefbet.com. Available in both sterling and 14k yellow gold plate, this is a piece of jewelry you'll put on and never take off.

With a secure peg and lock closure, there are actually two sizes on a single bracelet. You can adjust it perfectly to fit your wrist. If you're gifting this bangle to a friend or loved one, one thing you won't have to worry about is size since it adusts.

You'll only have to worry about crafting the perfect card to include with this bracelet. If you don't mind though, might we suggest exactly what was told to King Solomon-- "This Too Shall Pass."


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