Posted by: gruvenreuven | June 29, 2008

It’s all for the good

Well, I have sad news to report, The house that my family fell in love with, was not meant to be. Today we withdrew our offer on the house on 728 Cambridge. I guess our move to Lower Merion has to wait just a bit longer. Yes, it would have been nice to be moved in by my birthday… Yes, we all can’t wait to be able to attend shul on Shabbat each week. Yes, it would have been perfect timing in time for the new school year, Yes it would have been a nice location for my son’s Upshiring in August… BUT there were a few long term issues with the house that we would have really regretted in the long run.

When things like this happen, you have to realize it’s all for the good. It wasn’t right, and Hashem showed us the light. That being the case, it probably saved us a lot of real grief in the future.

The Talmud tells us of Rebbe Akiva’s Teacher. Nachum Ish Gamzu.

Nahum Ish Gamzu was a Tanna of the 2nd generation (1st century). He is called “ish gam zu” (the man of “gam zu”), and this name is explained as referring to Nahum’s motto. It is said that on every occasion, no matter how unpleasant the circumstance, he exclaimed “Gam zu le-ṭovah” (This, too, will be for the best).

Many years ago, when the Jews lived in the Land of Israel under the rule of the Romans, there lived a saintly Jew named Nachum. He was not only a very saintly man, but a great Talmid Chacham (scholar). He used to say that whatever the Almighty chose to do was for good, for the best. So, even when some misfortune would befall him be would invariably say: “This, too, is for good.” Because be was always heard saying: “This, too, is for good,” he came to be known by the nickname Nachum “Gam-Zu” (“This, too”).
It happened that the Roman Emperor issued a very severe decree against the Jews and the Sages decided that someone must go and speak with the Emperor to remove the decree. After serious thought they decided that the best person to represent them would be Nachum “Gam-Zu,” because it was said that miracles were always happening to him.
The Sages put together a beautiful collection of jewels and precious stones in a lovely jewel-box and gave the box to Nachum “Gam-Zu” to take to the Emperor.

Nachum “Gam-Zu” had to spend the night, en route, at an inn. Somehow the innkeeper – a thief and a rogue learned of the precious gift he was carrying and, during the night, he stole the jewels and precious stones and filled the box with sand from the yard.
You can imagine the Emperor’s feelings when he was presented with the Jews’ “gift” of a box of sand!

“Is this their idea of a joke!” he screamed. “I’ll show these Jews what will happen when they mock me like this!” He ordered that Nachum “Gam-Zu” be thrown into prison until his death-verdict would be carried out. And, what do you think Nachum “Gam-Zu” said to this?–Gam zu l’tovah -“This, too, is for good.”

That night the Prophet Elijah appeared to the Emperor in a dream, dressed as one of his advisers, and he said to him:

“How can you possibly think that the Jews would want to make fun of you! They surely want you to act kindly towards them! Perhaps the sand they sent you has some wonderful properties like the sand that their Patriarch Abraham used against his enemies? I have heard it said that, when Abraham threw the sand on them, the sand turned into deadly missiles! Who knows? Try this sand and see. . .”

When the Emperor awoke he was convinced that it would be wise to test the sand. As it happened, he was at that time in the midst of a war with the Barbarians and had not been able to subdue them. Here was his chance to conquer, he hoped.

To the surprise of his generals the Emperor ordered that the sand be used against the stubborn Barbarians, and the miracle happened! The battle was quickly won!

The Emperor immediately ordered the release of Nachum “Gam-Zu” and that he be given the choicest suite in the royal palace. The Emperor also ordered that the box be filled with the most valuable treasures and that Nachurn be escorted, on his departure, with high honor. Most important of all his petition was granted, and the decree against the Jews was made null and void.

On his way home Nachum “Gam-Zu” again stopped for the night at the same inn as before. The innkeeper asked him: “‘What did you take to the Emperor that he rewarded you so richly?”

“Whatever I took when I left the inn, that is what I gave to the Emperor,” he replied.
Hearing this, the innkeeper took the first opportunity to throw down the inn and he carried the sand and stones to the Emperor.

“O, mighty Emperor! This is the same sand and stones which Nachurn “GamZu” brought you, which you seem to value so much,” he said to him.

The Emperor ordered that the sand be tried out, but, no miracles resulted-the sand turned out to be, just plain sand. The Emperor then ordered that the innkeeper be put to death for his trickery and thievery.

And what do you think Nachum “Gam-Zu” said when he heard about it?

Gam-zu l’tovah! – ” This, too, is for good!”


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