Only the Best!

A story from the Jewish wisdom.

Rabbi Moshe took a trip to a strange land. He took a donkey, a rooster, and a lamp.

Since he was a Jew, he was refused hospitality in the village inns, so he decided to sleep in the woods. He lit his lamp to study the holy books before going to sleep, but a fierce wind came up, knocking over the lamp and breaking it. The rabbi decided to turn in, saying, “All that God does, he does well.”

During the night some wild animals came along and drove away the rooster and thieves stole the donkey. Moshe woke up, saw the loss, but still proclaimed willingly, “All that God does, he does well.”

In the morning, the rabbi went back to the village where he was refused lodging, only to learn that enemy soldiers had invaded it during the night and killed all the inhabitants. He also learned that these soldiers had traveled through the same part of the woods where he lay asleep.

Had his lamp not been broken he would have been discovered.

Had not the rooster been chased, it would have crowed, giving him away.

Had not the donkey been stolen, it would have brayed.

So once more Rabbi Moshe declared, “All that God does, he does well!”

A story from the Eastern wisdom.

Once Akbaal and Bilbaal went hunting together in the forest. Akbaal was the king. Bilbaal was his servant. As they walked along, Akbaal fell and broke his arm. It was terribly painful. Bilbaal tried to cheer him up by speculating on his pain, asserting coolly :

“Don’t worry. In life we are never sure what is good for us and what is bad. Sometimes, what we think is good for us turns out to be to our own disadvantage, and what we think is bad for us later turns out to be advantageous to us!”

Obviously it was not the right moment for philosophizing. The pain was atrocious. Akbaal got so upset that he threw his servant into a dry well nearby and walked off alone! . “What good can come from breaking an arm?” he kept murmuring angrily to himself.

He had hardly walked half a mile when he was captured by a savage tribe who lived in the forest. They were very pleased with their booty because they were looking for a victim to offer as a burnt sacrifice to the gods. They undressed him in preparation for the sacrifice … but as soon as the high priest noticed that he had a broken arm, he dismissed him saying, “We cannot offer our god an imperfect victim.” So they untied the king and released him.

Akbaal could hardly believe his good fortune. He immediately ran off to find his servant. He helped Bilbaal out of the well and began to excuse himself profusely for getting so angry. “You were right! You were right! ” he kept repeating, ” if I had not broken my arm, I would be ashes by now!”

Bilbaal was still in a philosophical mood. But this time his reflection was a very personal one. “Sire, please do not apologize. In fact, I should thank you, for if you had not become so angry as to throw me into the well, we would have been together, and they would have offered me as a sacrifice me instead of you.”

Expect beautiful things from God.

“The best”, as one of our friars always says.


(c) Fr. Pius Sammut, OCD. Permission is hereby granted for any non-commercial use, provided that the content is unaltered from its original state, if this copyright notice is included.

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