It once happened that Rabi Yehoshua ben Chananya had to go to the metropolis of Alexandria. The city had a very large Jewish population and they flocked to see him and get his advice on many things.
“Tell us, Rabi,” they asked, “how shall a man conduct himself so that he may acquire wisdom and learning?”
“Let him put in much time in study and minimize his economic pursuits,” answered Rabi Yehoshua.
“But,” the people protested, “many have attempted to do as you advise and we see that they have not been able to succeed.”
“Let all who really wish to succeed do as I have said and also seek mercy for their goals from He Who is the source of all wisdom.”
“And what shall a man do in order that he may become wealthy?”
“If wealth is what a man wishes and if this is his desire in this world let him pursue his business diligently but always with honesty and good faith.”
“But many people have attempted this and still were unable to succeed.”
“Once again I say to you,” replied Rabi Yehoshua, “that they should do as I suggest and ask for mercy from He Who is the source of all wealth.”
And the Jews of Alexandria persisted in all sorts of questions and each time Rabi Yehoshua told them, “If in all the pursuits and the actions of man he will acknowledge the hand of G-d and pray to Him for success, then the Almighty will send blessings upon him and grant him what his heart desires.”