A group of wealthy merchants went into an inn located near the crossroads. They asked the innkeeper to serve them food and drink, and knowing that his guests had the ability to pay, he hastened to set the table for them.
“What would you like to eat?” asked the innkeeper.
One of them answered, “I would like a good, thick meat broth.” “I would like to eat fresh fish,” said another.
One by one, the merchants proceeded to order tasty delicacies, each one requesting the dish that he craved.
A weak voice was suddenly heard coming from one corner of the inn, “Please serve me bread, for I am starving!”
The guest who had made the request was a beggar who had happened to enter the inn at the same time.
The innkeeper left the group of merchants and quickly placed bread before the beggar.
“Should this beggar be served before us?” asked the merchants. “Why, we are ordering a massive feast, yet you prefer to serve him first?”
“You,” responded the innkeeper, “are ordering delicacies for yourselves. This beggar, is asking for bread in order to survive. Who knows how long it has been since he has last had something to eat.”
There are times when individuals who pursue their cravings and desires stand in prayer and make various requests in order to increase their assets and prestige in the eyes of the world.
Then there is the individual who tearfully requests bread for his young children.
The Holy One, blessed be He will most certainly give his prayer preference and answer it immediately, for the man is pleading for his life and the lives of his children!
May all your tales end with Shalom (peace)
Once upon a time there lived a pious man who had grown very old, and when the time for his death approached, he called his three sons and instructed them that they should never quarrel with one another, for they might be led to swearing and he had never sworn in his life. Soon after that he died and left them a beautiful spice garden, which he commanded them to guard continually against thieves. The first night, the eldest brother lay down in the garden to watch. The Prophet Elijah came to him and said: “My son, what is your wish? Do you prefer to be a scholar, or a rich man or to marry a beautiful maiden?” He replied: “I should like to be a rich man.” So the Prophet Elijah gave him a coin, and he became a rich man.
The following night, the second brother lay down in the garden. The Prophet Elijah came also to him and asked him the same question as to what he would like to have. He replied that he would like to study the whole Torah. So he gave him a book and he became a great scholar.
On the third night, the youngest son went into the garden. The Prophet Elijah came to him also and asked him what he would like to have. He said that he would like to have a beautiful wife. The Prophet Elijah then said: “You must go with me and I will give you a beautiful, pious wife.” So they went away together. The first night they stopped at an inn, whose owner was a wicked man. In the night the Prophet Elijah heard the chickens and the geese talking to one another and saying: “The young man must he a great sinner if he is destined to marry the daughter of this wicked man. They are all worthless people and worshipers of idols.” When the Prophet Elijah heard this, he understood what they said and went on his way.
The next night, as they stopped at another inn, they heard again the chickens and the geese talking to one another and saying: “The lad must be a great sinner if he is destined to take the master’s daughter for a wife, for they are wicked people and worship idols.” In the morning, they rose up early and went on their way.
The third night, they came to an inn, whose master had a beautiful daughter. In the night, the Prophet Elijah heard the chickens and the geese talking to one another and saying: “What a virtuous lad he must be if he is destined to get as a wife such a beautiful and pious girl. For all the people in this house are pious and righteous persons.” Early in the morning the Prophet Elijah rose up and asked the master of the house to give his daughter to the young man as a wife. They were married and returned home in peace.
After a time the Prophet Elijah came to visit the three brothers in order to see what use they had made of the gifts he had ranted them. He disguised himself as a poor man and came to the first brother, who had gotten wealth. He was refused admittance and no assistance of any kind was given to him. The man had become a hard-hearted miser. Thereupon the Prophet Elijah made himself known to the man and said to him: “Give me back the coin which I gave you many years ago and which made you wealthy, for you kept your wealth to yourself, you have not helped the poor and have done no work of charity. You are not worthy of it.” So he took back the coin, and the man lost all that he possessed.
Elijah then came to the second brother in the guise of a scholar. That man, however, had grown so proud and arrogant that he treated every man with contempt and boasted of his learning far beyond his merits. But he did not continue his study, nor did he have a circle of students, and he treated the Prophet Elijah in the same contemptuous manner as the rest. So he revealed himself to the man and said to him: “Have you forgotten that all your learning comes from the book which I gave you and not through any merit of yours? You are no longer worthy to keep it. Return it to me.”
The Prophet Elijah then came to the house of the youngest brother. He disguised himself as a poor man. No sooner did the wife of this man see the beggar than she called him in, treated him hospitably and showed him all possible kindness. In the evening when her husband came home, the Prophet Elijah told him who he was, took out the coin and the book from his bosom and said to the man:
“I give you wealth and learning through the merits of your good and pious wife. For you will know how to make the proper use of both.”
Thus the choice of the young man who had asked for a beautiful and pious wife proved to him a real blessing.
May all your tales end with Shalom (peace)
A wealthy merchant made known that anyone in his city in need of a loan should come to him, and he would receive the entire sum that he needed.
Upon hearing of the wealthy merchant’s offer, many people came to his home. The wealthy merchant sat at his desk with his notepad opened in front of him. He gave each person the sum of money that he needed, and then jotted down the amount in his notepad. Some time later, the wealthy merchant realized that of all the people he had lent money to, not one had paid him back.
It happened to be, that one of the people who had borrowed money truly did not have the means of repaying the debt. He decided to go to the wealthy merchant and explain why he was late in returning his money. He hoped that the man would be kindhearted and understand his situation.
Upon hearing the man’s explanation as to why he was unable to repay the loan, the wealthy merchant responded:
“I certainly excuse you of not having repaid me, as I see that you are speaking the truth. I have but one request to make of you, please go throughout the city tell the rest of my debtors to pay me back.”
We are all indebted to the Holy One, blessed be He for the abundance of kindliness that He showers upon us at each and every moment. But due to our small stature and limited skills and faith, we are incapable of repaying that debt. What we can do, though, is speak to others and inspire them regarding matters of Heavenly gifts, reminding them that they too, are indebted to to the Holy One, blessed be He.
May all your tales end with shalom
The people of a certain faraway land had a custom that every year they would go out to the main road which led to their country, and when they spotted a stranger approaching, they would crown him as their king. This newly appointed king would then decide all the matters of the land.
At the year’s end, they would remove him from his throne and drive him out of the kingdom. Stripped of his royalty, he would leave just as he had come. The people would then go out to the main road once again and find themselves a new king. This situation repeated itself year after year.
Once a very poor man happened to be travelling along the main road. While he owned no money he had great wisdom and an amazing range of knowledge. Suddenly, he saw a great parade of joyful and excited people heading his way. Before he even had a moment to understand the cause behind the excitement, he was dressed in noble robes and a royal crown was placed upon his head. He was brought directly to the royal palace in the capital city, where he was installed as king for the coming year with an elaborate coronation.
Thinking about the strange events that had taken place, the king summoned one of his ministers, who offered him a detailed explanation of the land’s custom.
“Amazing,” thought the king. “It seems that after a year, I will once again be a penniless beggar. How interesting…”
What did he do? Over the course of the year, the king dispatched to his old home as much money jewelry, merchandise, and items of great worth, as he was able to.
When the year drew to a close, the people entered his room and brought him his old clothing. They then expelled him from the country with a warning never to return.
The man returned home where the massive treasure which he had worked so hard to gather. From that treasure the man was able to support himself and his family providing them with a life of wealth and luxury for years to come.
Man comes to this world for but a limited length of time. There are times when he is totally immersed in the pleasures and trivialities of this world and does not pay attention to the time that is quickly passing. Eventually, his years pass by and he arrives in the World to Come emptyhanded, having nothing to show for his stay in this world.
This is not the case, however, with the wise man who possesses a great deal of foresight. In this world, he works in order to send ahead a treasure of mitzvos and good deeds, which will stand in his merit on the day of accounting.
Praiseworthy is he and praiseworthy is his portion!