Hashem Provides For Everyone

Hashem Provides For Everyone

By Rabbi Dovid Hoffman

A successful merchant came before the Sanzer Rav, R’ Chaim Halberstam zt”l, with a complaint. For years his store had been bustling with customers and he did quite well in business. Now, however, another Jew came along and opened a competing business right near his. The competitor sold new, fashionable merchandise at lower prices and literally took over the market. Now his store is practically empty and his source of livelihood is shattered. The Sanzer Rav blessed him warmly that his livelihood should once again blossom – even more than it had originally. The man, however, was not content. “I want the Rebbe to curse my competitor, to ‘shmeis’ (smite) him with his mouth!” “Heaven forbid!” shuddered R’ Chaim. “I should curse another Yid? That is a strict prohibition, forbidden by the Torah!” But the angry businessman persisted. “Rebbe, please. At least curse his store, so that customers will avoid it and his merchandise will become undesirable.” The Sanzer Rav was aghast and refused to do any such thing. The room became silent. The Sanzer Rav sat deep in thought before he began to speak once again. Now, smiling kindly, he said, “Look, you are a businessman. Tell me how you go about purchasing your merchandise.” The man was thrown off guard by the sudden divergence in the conversation, but he quickly recovered and regained his composure. He explained to the Rebbe how he acquired various items from many different vendors. Then he had them all loaded onto his wagon, which he would personally accompany back to his city. He explained that out of concern for theft, he must supervise all transports. The Sanzer Rav nodded compassionately as he took in this information. “Now, tell me. What do you do when your horse gets thirsty?” R’ Chaim continued with his questions. The merchant answered that when he passes a brook he allows his horse to drink to its heart’s content. “And have you ever paid attention to a strange phenomenon?” the rabbi asked. The man shook his head in the negative. “Really? You never noticed that before the horse drinks, it kicks its leg in the water? Only after it kicks the water, will it begin to drink.” “Do you know why the horse does this?” asked the Rebbe. The man had no idea. “Allow me to explain,” R’ Chaim continued. “The horse lowers its head to drink and sees its reflection in the water. Seeing a horse before it, it thinks there is a competitor that vies for the same water. Just as the horse drinks from this side, the horse underneath plots against it and approaches to drink its water. It therefore kicks hard with its leg and beholds an incredible thing – the horse disappears! In its mind, the ‘enemy’ has apparently retreated and now it can enjoy all the water for itself.” The merchant smiled, and the Rebbe then concluded his observation. “Obviously, though, the horse is foolish. Even if there was a competitor, there is more than enough water in the stream for both of them. All the more so when we know that this is all just a vision. So what did the horse accomplish by kicking? It just makes the water dirty.” The businessman lowered his head as the reality of the Rebbe’s words began to sink in. “You must understand,” R’ Chaim added, “that a person’s resources are allocated at the beginning of each year. Nobody can intrude at all on that which is designated for someone else. We learn this message most powerfully from the plagues of Egypt. Hashem exhibited clear and overt supervision such that each individual Egyptian received what he deserved. The Jew drew water and the Egyptian drew blood. If they placed two straws in the same cup, the Jew would drink water and the Egyptian sipped blood. If the cups were to change hands, the liquid inside of them instantly switched as well. It has already been explained that the plagues of Egypt were ‘signs and wonders to this very day’ as they convey an eternal message that is relevant for all times. Just as the frog knew where it must go and where it was forbidden to go – as was the case regarding the vermin, wild beasts, pestilence, and boils – so does each individual person’s livelihood know where it must go. If one wants to make it grow and prosper, the only way he can do it is to appeal to the Master of the World, Who feeds us and the entire world in His goodness with grace, kindness, and immense compassion!”


Rabbi Dovid Hoffman is the author of the popular “Torah Tavlin” book series, filled with stories, wit and hundreds of divrei Torah, including the brand new “Torah Tavlin Yamim Noraim” in stores everywhere. You’ll love this popular series. Also look for his book, “Heroes of Spirit,” containing one hundred fascinating stories on the Holocaust. They are fantastic gifts, available in all Judaica bookstores and online at http://israelbookshoppublications.com. To receive Rabbi Hoffman’s weekly “Torah Tavlin” sheet on the parsha, e-mail Torahtavlin@yahoo.com


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