Tree of Sorrows


So it was that when the Hasidic pilgrims vied for who among them had endured the most suffering who was most entitled to complain, the Zaddik told them the story of the Sorrow Tree. On the day of Judgement, each person will be allowed to hang all of his unhappiness on a branch of the great Tree of Sorrows. After each person has found a limb from which his own miseries may dangle, they may all walk slowly around the tree. Each is to search for a set of sufferings he would prefer to those he has hung on the tree. In the end, each man freely chooses to reclaim his own personal set of sorrows rather than those of another. Each man leaves the tree wiser than when he came.

Kopp, Sheldon B. If You Meet The Buddha on the road, Kill Him! Bantam Books, 1976.