After G-d revealed Himself to Moshe at the burning bush, Moshe began to wonder about His ways. While in deep meditation, he sat down under a tree not too far from a well of spring water. The tree’s foliage was very dense and it hid Moshe, but he was able to see out in the direction of the well. After a while he saw a man approach on a mule, draw water from the well and give it to his animal, and then he too drank of the clear, crisp water. But unbeknownst to him, his purse, laden with gold coins, fell out of his pocket and the man departed without it.
Not long afterwards, another man approached the well to drink of its cool water. Imagine his surprise and happiness when he discovered the treasure, the purse of gold coins. Inasmuch as there were no identification marks on the purse, the man picked it up and gleefully went on his way.
No sooner had he departed than a third man arrived at the well, and he too began to drink of its refreshing water. While he was enjoying the cool, refreshing water, the first man came rushing back. He had discovered his loss, and in great anguish came back to seek his purse of gold coins. Not seeing it anywhere, he accused the man at the well, saying that he had picked it up and hidden it.
The man vehemently proclaimed his innocence, but the loser would not hear of it. A fight soon developed and in the melee, the first man killed the third man who was drinking the water. Seeing no one around, he soon departed.
Complains To G-d
Moshe, hidden under the heavy foliage of the tree, witnessed this entire scene. He then prayed to G-d to explain this entire episode.
“It is unfair,” he said to G-d, “that You should allow an innocent man to be killed and the first man to lose so much of his money. You are supposed to be a G-d of righteousness. How do You explain these actions?”
G-d then answered him. “Know that while the first man was innocent of sin, he is the son of an evil person, a rasha who stole an equivalent amount of money from the second man’s father who, out of aggravation, died. Therefore, when the second man found the money, it was rightfully his and I returned the inheritance to its proper owner. As to the murdered person, he was the son of the man who killed the first man’s father and, although he was evil, the other person had no right to kill him. Therefore, I avenged the blood of the murdered father, for the murderer had also long since died.
“The ways of the Lord are just and the children have to bear the sins of their fathers. You must never question My ways, for though they may seem strange and unfair to you, in the eternal plan of things they are just.”
Beware Of A Dishonest Person
Moshe paid a visit to Har Chorev. He carried the wondrous staff which he found at the home of his father-in-law, Yisro, with which he performed the miracles, later, in Mitzrayim. On the way, he met an old man. After greeting him he persuaded him to accompany him in the desert on the road to his destination.
“You are an old man,” Moshe said, “and together we can make the journey much more easily than if we each traveled alone. I have three loaves of bread. How many do you have?”
“I have two loaves,” replied the old man. So they combined their bread and other food, and the old man put it all in the sack he was carrying and they started out on the way. After a while, they stopped and ate one loaf. Later on they consumed the second loaf, and so on. Finally, Moshe asked the man for the fifth loaf, which they would divide. But the man denied ever having a fifth loaf.