Friday, July 15, 2011

"All that G-d Does Is for the Good."

Today, rather than me getting on my soapbox, I'm going to share a common Talmudic story. It happens that I didn't know what to write about. But when I read, I mark ideas that I'd like to eventually share on the blog with post-it notes. I picked up the closest book, and this story was the first thing I opened to. Guess I needed this message today, and perhaps you do too.

Rabbi Akiba was traveling (on the lam from the Romans after a rebellion, as I understand it). He had a donkey, a rooster, and a torch with him. Near dark, he came to a city and began looking for lodging for the night.

Not knowing who he was (that says something bad in itself), everyone turned him away. Rabbi Akiba didn't complain. He simply said, "All that G-d does is for the good."

Without another option, Rabbi Akiba was forced to camp in a field that night. During the night, a lion (yes, a lion. I don't know where it came from) came into the field and killed the Rabbi's donkey. He said, "All that G-d does is for the good."

Later, a cat came and ate his rooster. Again, he didn't complain. He said, "All that G-d does is for the good."

Finally, a great wind came and extinguished his torch. "All that G-d does is for the good."

In the morning, Rabbi Akiba walked back to the city. During the night, the Romans had sacked the city and killed all the inhabitants. If Rabbi Akiba had found lodging, he would also be dead. Likewise, if the Romans had heard his donkey bray, heard his rooster crow, or seen his torch, he would have been found and killed.

Rabbi Akiba said, "Have I not said that all G-d does is for the good!"

Of course, it bothers me that the inhabitants of the city probably didn't feel that way. Yet we don't discuss them. (As a side note, I've also heard this story used as a warning against turning away chances to practice the mitzvah of hospitality.) 

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