Cast Thy Bread Upon The Waters

Cast Thy Bread Upon The Waters

One of the very wise sayings in the Book of Ecclesiastes is:

Cast thy bread upon the waters, for you shall find it after many days…

Which means: Always be ready to do a good turn even if you don't expect a reward for it. For, some day, you will surely find your reward waiting for you.

The following story is a very good illustration of this saying, you will agree.

Bar Kappara, one of the Tanaim who lived at the time of Rabbi Judah Hanassi, was once walking along the seashore of Caesaria, when he noticed a shipwreck in the distance. As he stood and looked, he saw a man swimming from the wreck towards the shore.

The man seemed to be making good headway and was obviously a good swimmer. But as soon as he reached land, he almost collapsed with weariness. Bar Kappara went forward and gave him a helping hand. The man staggered ashore and begged him to assist him. Bar Kappara took him home, clothed him, fed him and offered him some money so that the man went away refreshed and encouraged.

Some years later, the Jews of Caesaria found themselves in a predicament with the local authorities and decided to send a petition to the Governor. They chose Bar Kappara to go and speak on their behalf.

Bar Kappara prayed to G‑d to guide him aright and help him succeed in his important mission.

When Bar Kappara reached the Governor's palace, he asked for permission to see the Governor, having come on a very urgent matter. When his request was granted, he was ushered into the presence of the Governor. To his great astonishment, Bar Kappara recognized him as the same man whom he had once saved and helped on the shores of Caesaria.

"What can I do for you, my friend?" the Governor greeted him warmly, recognizing Bar Kappara as his onetime "friend in need."

Bar Kappara earnestly begged the Governor to use his authority in helping the Jews, on whose behalf he had now come to plead.

The Governor listened carefully and patiently to the story Bar Kappara unfolded before him and then said:

"I will gladly do this favor for you, my friend, because when I was in such a desperate position you helped me to the maximum of your ability without asking for or expecting any reward. Because of your unselfishness and kindness to me, I shall now help your suffering brethren at your request."

Bar Kappara had brought a large sum of money as a gift to the Governor from his fellow-Jews. The Governor, however, gave the money back to Bar Kappara, saying:

"Take this money back as a gift from me now. For although the sum of money you gave me was not as great as this, to me it meant everything at the time of my need. You may return to your brethren and tell them that I am helping them out of gratitude to you, and take my blessing with you."

Bar Kappara joyfully hurried back with the good news to his fellow-Jews who were anxiously awaiting his return.

Great was the rejoicing among them at Bar Kappara's good tidings, and they all acknowledged how true was the saying of King Solomon:

"Cast thy bread upon the waters for you shall find it after many days."

Excerpted from The Complete Story of Tishrei, published and copyright by Kehot Publication Society, Brooklyn NY
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Joan CT February 2, 2016

After prayer, the scripture came to me "cast your bread upon the waters". So I opened the Bible and read it over and over. I had some idea but not complete. After reading your lesson on this scripture I received the message that God was trying to tell me after prayer. Thank you for sharing. Reply

Cising dimapur October 25, 2015

I am always overcome by emotions whenever I read inspiring stories. God bless Reply

Anonymous Cagayan de Oro city, Philippines April 28, 2015

now it makes sense... amazing story. I've always wondered what the verse meant...
It didn't make sense that I should cast my bread upon the waters.

I tried to take it in a literal manner and it didn't make sense. I knew it would have some figurative meaning but I didn't get what it is...

thanks to this story, now i know :)

And it's a really great value to live by! Wisdom is indeed supreme. Reply

godfrey December 1, 2014

encouraging yeah, we should be ready to help given an opportunity even when no reward awaits us. Reply

Maria NY November 5, 2013

beautiful I loved it! It teaches that you should never wait for reward after you do something to help other people. Reply

TobiD Winston Salem, NC March 24, 2011

Cast thy bread upon the waters . . . I'm an author; am currently writing an entire novel based on the concept illustrated by this verse in Ecclesiastes and by the story of Bar Kappara. It's a wonderful truth and I hope my readers will recognize it in my work. Reply

meg london, england February 9, 2010

thanks thanks i reaally needed this for homework Reply

Anonymous arad, israel January 11, 2010

a very good story i loved it Reply

Anonymous Hook, Hampshire, England December 21, 2008

Bread Put some Jewish stories up about bread, I realy need them and if you don't put them up then please send some to me. Reply

s. l new haven, ct October 9, 2006

beautiful i really enjoyed the story i think it has a very good moral thanks for putying it up Reply

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