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Trust in God

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  • medit8ionsociety
    This is a story from the Talmud. Enjoy! Trust in God. Rabbi Jochanan, the son of Levi, fasted and prayed to the Lord that he might be permitted to gaze on the
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 1, 2008
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      This is a story from the Talmud. Enjoy!

      Trust in God.

      Rabbi Jochanan, the son of Levi, fasted and
      prayed to the Lord that he might be permitted
      to gaze on the angel Elijah, he who had ascended
      alive to heaven. God granted his prayer, and
      in the semblance of a man Elijah appeared before him.

      "Let me journey with thee in thy travels
      through the world," prayed the Rabbi to Elijah;
      "let me observe thy doings, and gain in wisdom
      and understanding."

      "Nay," answered Elijah; "my actions thou couldst
      not understand; my doings would trouble thee,
      being beyond thy comprehension."

      But still the Rabbi entreated:

      "I will neither trouble nor question thee," he said;
      "only let me accompany thee on thy way."

      "Come, then," said Elijah; "but let thy tongue
      be mute. With thy first question, thy first
      expression of astonishment, we must part company."

      So the two journeyed through the world together.
      They approached the house of a poor man, whose only
      treasure and means of support was a cow. As they
      came near, the man and his wife hastened to meet
      them, begged them to enter their cot, and eat and
      drink of the best they could afford, and to pass the
      night under their roof. This they did, receiving
      every attention from their poor but hospitable host
      and hostess. In the morning Elijah rose up early and
      prayed to God, and when he had finished his prayer,
      behold the cow belonging to the poor people dropped
      dead. Then the travellers continued on their journey.

      Much was Rabbi Jochanan perplexed. "Not only did we
      neglect to pay them for their hospitality and generous
      services, but his cow we have killed;" and he said to
      Elijah, "Why didst thou kill the cow of this
      good man, who-----"

      "Peace," interrupted Elijah; "hear, see, and be silent!
      If I answer thy questions we must part."

      And they continued on their way together.

      Towards evening they arrived at a large and imposing
      mansion, the residence of a haughty and wealthy man.
      They were coldly received; a piece of bread and a
      glass of water were placed before them, but the
      master of the house did not welcome or speak to them,
      and they remained there during the night unnoticed.
      In the morning Elijah remarked that a wall of the
      house required repairing, and sending for a carpenter,
      he himself paid the money for the repair, as a return,
      he said, for the hospitality they had received.

      Again was Rabbi Jochanan filled with wonder, but he
      said naught, and they proceeded on their journey.

      As the shades of night were falling they entered
      a city which contained a large and imposing
      synagogue. As it was the time of the evening
      service they entered and were much pleased with
      the rich adornments, the velvet cushions, and gilded
      carvings of the interior. After the completion of
      the service, Elijah arose and called out aloud,
      "Who is here willing to feed and lodge two poor men
      this night?" none answered, and no respect was
      shown to the travelling strangers. In the morning,
      however, Elijah re-entered the synagogue, and
      shaking its members by the hands, he said, "I hope
      that you may all become presidents."

      Next evening the two entered another city, when
      the Shamas (sexton) of the synagogue, came to meet
      them, and notifying the members of his congregation
      of the coming of two strangers, the best hotel
      of the place was opened to them, and all vied in
      showing them attention and honour.

      In the morning, on parting with them, Elijah said,
      "May the Lord appoint over you but one president."

      Jochanan could resist his curiosity no longer.
      "Tell me," said he to Elijah, "tell me the meaning
      of all these actions which I have witnessed. To those
      who have treated us coldly thou hast uttered
      good wishes; to those who have been gracious
      to us thou hast made no suitable return. Even
      though we must part, I pray thee explain to me
      the meaning of thy acts."

      "Listen," said Elijah, "and learn to trust in God,
      even though thou canst not understand His ways.
      We first entered the house of the poor man, who
      treated us so kindly. Know that it had been decreed
      that on that very day his wife should die. I prayed
      unto the Lord that the cow might prove a redemption
      for her; God granted my prayers, and the woman was
      preserved unto her husband. The rich man, whom next
      we called up, treated us coldly, and I repaired his
      wall. I repaired it without a new foundation, without
      digging to the old one. Had he repaired it himself
      he would have dug, and thus discovered a treasure
      which lies there buried, but which is now for ever
      lost to him. To the members of the synagogue who
      were inhospitable I said, 'May you all be presidents,'
      and where many rule there can be no peace; but to the
      others I said, 'May you have but one president;' with
      one leader no misunderstanding may arise. Now, if thou
      seest the wicked prospering, be not envious; if thou
      seest the righteous in poverty and trouble, be not
      provoked or doubtful of God's justice. The Lord is
      righteous, His judgments all are true; His eyes note
      all mankind, and none can say, 'What dost thou?'"

      With these words Elijah disappeared, and Jochanan
      was left alone.
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