Now it is well known that life is like a wheel rolling along the road: as the wheel turns, the top of the rim turns downwards, while the bottom of the wheel turns upwards. So everyone has his ups and downs in life. And that's what happened to the rich man. His wheel took a turn downward, and down went his luck in business. Before long he became so poor that he did not even have dry bread in the house to feed his wife and children. Then he decided that there was no point in sitting home and facing his starving family. So he sadly kissed them good-bye and set forth to seek his lost mazal (good luck).

The scholar, who had been supported by his father-in-law so that he could devote himself to his Torah studies, had now reached the end of their agreement. In the meantime his family had increased with two lovely children, and he had to find a way to take care of his wife and family. He was learned enough to become a Rabbi, but he did not know of any congregation that needed a Rabbi. But his wife and children had to have food now, and every day, so he sadly began to sell some of his books to provide food for his family. When all his books were sold, and he still had no way of earning a livelihood, he decided to go out into the world, hoping that the Almighty, who feeds and sustains all His creatures, would also provide food for them as well.

The G‑d fearing Jew would not have left home but for his wife. Although she and the children were not starving, G‑d forbid, and they were quite comfortable, Boruch Hashem, she was never satisfied, for she was jealous of her neighbors who seemed to be better off. She never stopped complaining, blaming her husband for everything, making his life miserable. Finally, he couldn't take it any more. So he, too, decided to go out into the world, hoping that his absence would make her heart warmer to him. Surely she would feel sorry, perhaps even ashamed, that she had not treated her husband kindly and respectfully as any good Jewish wife should do. Then, when he returns, so he thought, he would find his wife a completely changed person.

It so happened that the three troubled Jews met at the city gates. As is customary among Jews who meet on the way, they asked each other, "Vu geit ah Yid?" (Where is a Jew going?) The answer each one gave was the same, "I know where I'm coming from, but I don't know where I'm going." So they decided that they might as well go together. Having learned that each had his troubles that made him leave home, they felt drawn together like brothers. They all agreed that they would stick together and not part until Hashem would help them all.


The three newly found friends in trouble walked out of the city together in a better mood than when they had met. They carried on a lively and interesting conversation, so the walking was made easy and the time passed quickly.

The road led them through a forest, and they came to a gentle stream. Here was a nice place to rest and refresh themselves. They washed, and they ate, and they rested, and although it was still early in the afternoon, they decided to davven the afternoon prayer. They prayed with deep devotion that brought tears to their eyes, for they knew that only Hashem could help them.

Then, as they were about to continue on their way, an old man stepped out from among the trees and came toward them with a friendly "Shalom Aleichem, Yidden." The old man continued, "Your sad faces tell me you are deeply troubled. Do you want to tell me what troubles you? Maybe I can help you."

The rich man who had become poor told his sad story, and when he finished, he asked the old man, "What can you do for me?"

The old man produced a golden coin and said: "Here is an ancient gold coin. When you return home, put it immediately into a tzedaka box. The following morning you will find it full of gold coins. You may take out as many gold coins as you wish, but always leave at least one coin in the pushka. You will then find a full box of gold coins every morning (except, of course, on Shabbos and Yomim Tovim). As soon as you have enough money, you will get busy building a Beis Hamedrash, and will arrange for a minyan of Torah students and scholars to stay there and study Torah during the day and at night. You will provide for their needs and for their dependents needs. And also be sure to extend a helping hand to all needy people, and never turn a poor man away from your door empty-handed."

Then Eliyahu HaNavi (for it was indeed he) turned to the Torah scholar. After hearing his story, he said, "For you, I have a small holy book, a Tehillim. When you return home, put this little Tehillim in your empty bookcase. When you wake up the following morning, you will find the bookcase filled with holy books: Siddurim, Tehillim, Chumashim, Mishnayos, and others. You will then become a bookseller. The books you sell will be replaced by new ones, but be sure not to leave the bookcase empty. If anyone asks you the price of a book say, The price is what you can afford to pay for it. In this way, you will never be short of books, nor will you be short of a livelihood."

Finally, turning to the third man, Eliyahu HaNavi said; "And for you, my friend, I have this ring. When you get home, hang this ring on the kitchen door post, facing the mezuzah, and when your wife goes into the kitchen every morning, her nasty moods will disappear, and she will treat you with the respect you so well deserve."

Having given the three gifts to the three companions, Eliyahu blessed them with success, and disappeared.


With hearts uplifted, the three men returned home. Upon their return, each one did as Eliyahu HaNavi had instructed. The once rich man became wealthy again, the Torah scholar could now devote himself to learning without a worry and the G‑d fearing Jew was no longer bothered by his wife nagging him.

As time passed, the rich man became richer and richer. At first, he followed Eliyahu HaNavi's instructions carefully. He gave tzedaka with an open hand and soon became well known for his generosity. The needy streamed to his house from far and near until he felt things getting out of hand. He was left with practically no time for his business and so he hired a secretary for his tzedaka affairs, leaving him free to devote himself to his business.

The secretary carried out his duties in what he felt was a responsible manner, with a firm grip on his employers purse strings. Getting him to part with a coin was no easy task. As time passed, the poor no longer felt welcome at the rich mans home, and finally they stopped coming altogether. A sterling reputation turned rusty as philanthropist turned miser.

As far as the Beis Hamedrash which he had promised to build and fill with the voice of Torah from the minyan of scholars whom he was to support, this he kept postponing until it was forgotten.

One day, a poor man appeared at the home of the rich man, only to be greeted by two servants who refused him entry. The poor man did not go away, "I haven't come to ask for a donation. I am well aware that your master no longer extends his hand to the needy. I have come, rather, to collect a debt from him."

Finally, the servants informed their master that some poor man at the door had come to collect a debt. The wealthy man instructed them to let him in.

"Do you remember I once lent you a coin?" asked the old man.

Yes, indeed, the wealthy man remembered. He begged the old man to let him keep the coin and offered to give him other coins of gold and silver in exchange. But the old man did not accept the offer and so the rich man had to return the coin. Said the old man, "G‑d helped you regain your wealth, yet you did not help others with it. This wealth, which you should have given to others, did not belong to you. You refused to share it with the needy and therefore, just as you showed no pity for others, G‑d will no longer show pity for you. The coin I gave you then now belongs to someone else."

The old man took his leave and soon after, so did the wealth of the rich man.

Next, he went to the Torah scholar. He found him in a richly furnished house sitting, at an elaborately laid table and partaking of the finest food and drink. There was no evidence at his table of any needy yeshiva students who should have been his "steady weekly guests," as was the custom. The books in the bookcase looked new and unused.

"I came to take back the small Tehillim I once gave you," said Eliyahu HaNavi.

"I am, Thank G‑d, not lacking in holy books; by all means take it," replied the Torah scholar.

No sooner had the old man left than the bookcase and its wonderful contents vanished as well. Without his livelihood, the Torah scholar became destitute as before.

Next, Eliyahu HaNavi went to the G‑d fearing Jew. This pious man lived modestly, yet his home was open and warm. His guest was made to feel welcome indeed as the family shared all they had with him. At the table sat a pair of poor yeshiva students who were made to feel at home by the loving attention which the motherly woman of the house showered upon them.

Eliyahu HaNavi asked the G‑d fearing Jew how things were going. "Thank the good L-rd," he answered, "since I received that wonderful ring, my house has been a virtual Gan Eden as you well can see. We enjoy peace, joy and tranquility in our blessed home. May our merciful G‑d continue to bless us with His kindness."

Now Eliyahu HaNavi took out the small holy book and the coin which he had taken back from the other two.

"Since you remained faithful to G‑d in time of poverty, you will merit to serve Him in wealth. That which the other two neglected, you will surely fulfill. May G‑d help you."

Having said that, Eliyahu HaNavi took his leave. From that day on, the G‑d fearing Jew enjoyed wealth and happiness, never forgetting his duties to man and G‑d.