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Whatever G-d Wills Is For The Best

This world wherein we dwell is a very difficult world. Man suffers from the time he enters into it until he has to leave it. To make life easier in this world our Sages set forth rules and regulations to guide us to a happier way of life.

The Talmud tells us that for two-and-a-half years the school of Shammai and the school of Hillel were in dispute. The former asserted that it would have been better for man not to have been created than to have been created and the latter maintained that it was better for man to have been created than not to have been created. They finally took a vote and decided that it were better for man not to have been created than to have been created, but now that he has been created, let him make the best of it by investigating his past deeds (and if he finds them at fault, make the necessary amends). Others say let him examine his future actions. A person should trust in G-d and have faith that whatever was done, the ultimate end is to serve a good purpose.

Rabbi Chanina said, “No person bruises his finger here on earth unless it was so decreed against him in Heaven, for it is written, ‘It is of the L-rd that a man’s goings are established’ (Psalms. 37:23).” Therefore we must never be discouraged; we must trust in G-d for He knows what He is doing. In merit of this trust in Him, G-d will then reward us.

The Talmud tells us of one such case which occurred to a pious tzaddik, Nachum Ish Gamzu. He was so named because of his motto, “Whatever G-d wills is for the best.” Regardless of the circumstance he found himself in, he would always say, “It was done for the best.”

Israel Sends A Gift To The Emperor

One day it came to pass that on the birthday of the Roman Emperor, all the nations of the world sent him gifts. Israel, seeking to remain in his good graces, also prepared a gift for the emperor. Accumulating the finest diamonds, pearls and jewelry, they placed it in a large trunk to be shipped to the king. The problem arose as to who was to deliver the trunk to the emperor. If they were to send a big escort it would attract the attention of marauders and highwaymen, who would gladly lay down their lives for so big a treasure.

They finally decided to send it in the care of Nachum Ish Gamzu, who was known as the miracle man. He was so holy that miracles were an everyday occurrence with him. Accompanied by two escorts, Nachum traveled all day with the trunk of diamonds safely stored in his carriage. Towards evening the little party tired, and exhausted from the day’s long travel, stopped over at an inn.

Nachum Robbed

While one of the men guarded the trunk, Nachum had his meal and retired for the night. The innkeeper noticing the guard soon realized that they must have something very valuable. Engaging the man in conversation he offered him wine, and soon the guard was sound asleep. Opening the trunk, the hotel keeper and his wife were dumbstruck at its contents. Sparkling emeralds and diamonds glittered at them. Calling over some of his servants, the greedy innkeeper emptied the contents of the trunk and refilled it with earth dug from his backyard. They then retired, chuckling over the trick they played on this innocent Jew.

Trust In G-d

Early in the morning, when the guard awoke, he checked the trunk as was his usual procedure. Imagine his dismay when he discovered the earth, instead of the diamonds, in the trunk. Rushing over to Nachum he told him of their misfortune.

“Fear not,” consoled Nachum, “Whatever G-d wills is for the best.”

With heavy hearts, they continued on their journey until they reached Rome. As the emissary of Israel they were ushered into the throne room where they presented the emperor with the trunk leaden with earth.

Emperor Furious

Anticipating some rich treasure, the emperor bade his servants to open the casket. He was dumbfounded.

“It this a joke!” screamed the emperor. “Is this the way the Jews pay their respects to me? Now I am convinced that they are my enemies and deserve to be destroyed!”

“Whatever G-d wills is for the best,” murmured Nachum while he prayed for help.

Earth Changes To Spears

Suddenly Elijah, the Prophet, disguised as a general, entered the court and begged the emperor to be allowed to examine the contents of the trunk.

“If this contains what I think,” said the general, “we are wealthy beyond the wildest dreams of man.”

The emperor was intrigued, and he allowed the general to examine the contents of the trunk.

“This must be the same earth which Abraham, the Patriarch, used when he conquered the kings who abducted Lot. When this earth is thrown at the enemy, it changes into spears and arrows, and no mortal can withstand the onslaught.”

Emperor Subdues Enemy

At the time the emperor was warring with a powerful country whom he could not subdue. Again and again his armies were repulsed and he was thinking of departing from them in defeat. The king then ordered his soldiers to use this earth in battle. In the meantime he placed Nachum Ish Gamzu in custody.

Lo and behold, a miracle occurred; when the sand was thrown at the enemy it changed into swords and spears. Confused, the enemy fled in disorder, and the Roman legions conquered the country.

Emperor Rewards Nachum

The emperor was jubilant. He called in Nachum Ish Gamzu and gave him many trunks filled with gold and diamonds and arranged a parade in his honor. He then departed for home carrying the eternal friendship and good wishes of the Roman Emperor for Israel.

On the way back they again stopped at the same inn. The innkeeper was astounded when he heard the tale of how his earth contained such magic powers. But he was convinced when he saw the trunks of treasures, with which the emperor rewarded them.

Villain Receives Reward

The following day the innkeeper dug up his backyard and filled dozens of trunks with his earth, which he immediately dispatched to the emperor.

“This is the same earth, which you received from the Jewish delegation,” he told the emperor. “It came from my backyard.”

The emperor was pleased and sent it to his soldiers who tried it out on their enemy. But alas it was only earth, and his soldiers, relying on this earth to perform miracles, were caught offguard and badly defeated.

The emperor was furious, and he condemned both the innkeeper and his wife to death. They were both executed.

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