Rabbi Chanina ben Dosa was so poor that he and his wife often had nothing to cook for Shabbat. Every Friday, before Shabbat, she would throw a burning coal into the oven, so that smoke would drift out of her chimney and the neighbors would assume that she had what to cook.

A nasty neighbor said, “I know that they don’t have anything. Let me go and see what all that smoke is about.”

When she knocked on their door, Rabbi Chanina ben Dosa’s wife was mortified and went to hide in an inner room. The nosy neighbor entered anyway. A miracle occurred, and she found the oven full of loaves of bread and a mixing bowl full of dough.

She called, “Come! Come! Bring the spatula. Your bread is starting to burn, and you need to get it out quick!”

Rabbi Chanina ben Dosa’s wife said, “That’s what I went into the inner room for.”

Indeed, the sages say, she was telling the truth. She was so accustomed to miracles that she wasn’t surprised that coals had turned into bread.

Later, Rabbi Chanina’s wife asked him, “How long will we have to suffer like this?”

“What should we do?” he replied.

She said, “Pray that we be given something of value.”

He prayed, and a hand-like apparition stretched down from the heavens and gave him a golden table leg.

He later dreamed that he saw all the righteous people in the world to come eating at three-legged tables, while he and his wife were eating at a table with just two legs.

He asked his wife, “Will it be okay with you if all the other righteous people are eating at three-legged tables, while you and I are eating at a table that’s missing one of its legs?”

“What should we do?” she asked. “Pray that it should be taken from you.”

He prayed, and it was taken from him.

The sages remarked that the second miracle was greater than the first, because tradition says that the heavens give but they don’t take back.