And the rich man thought he heard the voice of God.
"I am so honored," he thought, "to be called
on for this gift." At home he had the bread
prepared, twelve large loaves of challa, which
he brought to temple and arranged in the ark
where lay the holy scrolls of Torah. Soon
a poor man entered the silent room, prayed
before the ark. "Oh Lord," he prayed, "I am so poor
I cannot feed my children." But when he opened
the ark to peer at the scrolls he loved, twelve
fat challa loaves tumbled about his hands.
When the rich man returned and found his challa gone,
he knew that God had eaten the bread and been glad.
"I will bring another twelve next week," he cried,
"and Lord, you may be sure this time there will
be raisins!" For many weeks the rich man brought
challa as a gift for God. The poor man reached
his hands to heaven and accepted God's gift. Six
he kept, and four he sold and two left for those few
poorer than himself. One day the rabbi, staying late
to pray, witnessed the odd exchange and brought
the men together. "I see," the poor man said, head
bowed, "God has not sent me bread."
"Nor has he eaten challa from my hands," the rich man
sighed. The rabbi smiled. He took the rich man's
hands in his and kissed them softly. "These
are the hands of God
that offer to the poor. And these,"
he said, taking the poor man's, "are God's hands too,
accepting challa baked by free hands, as a prayer."
Last update: 8 May 2000