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October 30, 2014 / 6 Heshvan, 5775
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Rabi Akiva Clarifies


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“If that is so,” countered the man, “how dare you go against His Will? If the Almighty desired a man to be sick, how can you take it upon yourselves to defy His Will?”

“Tell me,” said Rabi Akiva, “what is your occupation?”

“I am a farmer,” replied the man. “I have a large and beautiful field outside of Jerusalem.”

“I see,” said Rabi Akiva. “And who created the earth on which you work?”

“Why, the Almighty,” said the man.

“And what do you do to your field in order that it shall bring forth wheat?”

“I work very hard,” said the man. “I clear the land of stones and thistles, plough it, sow it, and finally reap it. It is laborious work to make this land productive.”

“But how dare you go against the Will of G-d,” said Rabi Akiva. “After all, He made this land sickly and unproductive and you now come and attempt to make it grow things by your own hands. Why do you not wait until the Almighty makes the produce grow by itself?”

“But that is impossible,” cried the man. “Man must work the soil or nothing will ever grown.”

“Remember,” said Rabi Akiva, “man is like the tree of the field too. He needs medicine, he needs help and the Almighty desires us to improve on the world that He created.

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When the soldiers heard this they exclaimed happily: “You mean this is the sacred Jewish fruit? Hurry, get on the horse. You are coming with us to the palace.”

Now let me ask you, what would happen to an infantryman if he deserted his regiment and went to serve in the cavalry? He would be court-martialed, wouldn’t he?”

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So began a marvelous period of good fortune. He invested the twenty-four gold pieces in many types of businesses and everything his hand touched turned to gold.

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