In a small Polish town there lived an honest Yid named Meir[1]. Meir earned his livelihood by visiting the marketplace every morning after davening, where he would purchase certain staples for a decent price to stock his wife’s store, who would then resell to the locals for a small profit. Meir had a reputation for being very honest and very reasonable. Instead of haggling on price, Meir would offer a reasonable price which was always accepted, and over time people began to  appreciate this.

This arrangement provided Meir’s family with enough to get by, but did not make them wealthy. There was one thing that bothered Meir; namely that he wanted to be able to spend more time learning Torah. So he decided to cut in half the days that he spent buying in the marketplace, so that he will be able to spend the rest of the time in Torah study.

At first this new arrangement concerned his wife, but Meir reassured her by saying, “Don’t you think Hashem has the ability to provide for us, even if I only work three days?”

Amazingly, the family saw how working less and setting aside time for Torah didn’t diminish their livelihood at all.

Eventually, their eldest daughter came of marriageable age and Meir’s wife gently suggested that he go back to working full time so they can save up for wedding expenses.

“Hashem has taken care of us quite well until now, so let’s continue to rely on

Him,” said Meir.

“So should we just sit and rely on miracles.”

Meir explained that Hashem is the chief partner in their business, and He obviously likes the kind of conduct which includes davening properly, and spending time learning Torah. We therefore need to do the things the He likes in order to receive the blessings that we want Him to give.

One day a peasant brought a piece of a tree stump which contained a beehive to sell, however he would only sell it to ‘honest Meir’. After a while he was told that Meir didn’t visit the marketplace on that day, and the peasant was led to Meir’s home. Meir was brought from his study to decide whether he wanted to purchase the beehive. After examining the beehive to the best of his abilities, Meir made an offer which was readily accepted by the peasant. Being that Meir didn’t possess the money, his wife went out to borrow the sum.

Meanwhile Meir invited the peasant for a bite, and asked him how he acquired the beehive. The peasant related how once after chopping wood for firewood, his donkey stopped in front of a tree stump with many bees buzzing around it. He figured that there must be lots of honey in the hollow stump. So he carefully removed the queen bee using a twig, cut off the the stump, and brought it for sale.

Meir’s wife then returned with the money and the sale was complete. The peasant went on his way, Meir went back to learning Torah, and Meir’s wife got busy with emptying out the honey from the honeycombs in the hive. Before long she discovered that beneath a few layers of honeycombs was a hollow tree stump. Quickly she brought her husband to see what a sour

[1] The Storyteller vol. 4 pg. 220-229

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