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Rava and the Rich "Poor" Man

Rava and the Rich "Poor" Man

Ethics 3:7

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Rabbi Elazar of Bartota said; “Give to G‑d from that which is His, for you and everything that is yours are His. And so it is said by Dovid: ‘For all things are from You, and from Your own we have given You.’” (Avot 3:7)

“What are you accustomed to eating?” Rava asked.
“What are you accustomed to eating?” Rava asked.
Rava was the head of the large and famous Yeshiva in Mechoza, one the most important Torah centers in Babylon.

Not only was Rava learned, he was exceedingly kind and charitable. All the poor people knew that if they went to Rava, they could be sure of a generous donation.

One day Rava was approached by a beggar who seemed to be different from the others. He was very well-mannered, and a look on his face indicated that poverty was new to him. He had come from a good family, been educated in the Torah, and most of his life he had lived like a rich man.

Only recently his fortune had taken a turn for the worse, and he had lost all his wealth. He had become so poor that he barely had a piece of bread to keep himself alive.

“Please can you give me something to eat?” he asked Rava.

“What are you accustomed to eating?” Rava asked, for the mitzvah is that we should support a person in the manner to which he or she has been accustomed.

The man sighed. “To tell you the truth, I used to eat fat stuffed chicken, and drink sweet old wine.”

Rava was surprised. If this man had such expensive tastes, he would find it hard to get a meal. How did he expect others to take care of him better than they took care of themselves?

“Perhaps it would be better if you satisfied yourself with a more modest diet,” Rava suggested mildly. “That way it would be easier for people to help you.”

“Why do you say that?” the poor man replied. “Am I asking for their food? I am only asking for food which is G‑d’s. Everything belongs to Him. He fulfills the needs of every person. If He wants, He will give people enough money for the food I need. I am a broken person now. I cannot eat coarse food that I am not used to.”

Rava marvelled at the man’s great trust in G‑d.

Just then, Rava’s sister walked in. He hadn’t seen her in thirteen years. She had come to pay a visit, and in her arms she brought a present for her brother. What do you think it was? A basket of fat stuffed chicken, and a bottle of sweet old wine!

“This is clearly meant for you,” Rava said to the poor man, and gave the food to him.

Rava was astounded. Here was a simple person, by no means a Torah scholar, and yet his faith in G‑d was so strong, that G‑d performed miracles to take care of him!

Courtesy of Tzivos Hashem.
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Taimoor RB Rawalpindi June 20, 2013

It was really an outstanding story to give knowledge about poor man's rights. Reply

Ethics of the Fathers is a tractate of the Mishna that details the Torah's views on ethics and interpersonal relationships. Enjoy insights, audio classes and stories on these fascinating topics.
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