THE BAKER AND THE BEGGAR
"Long ago, there lived a baker who one day happened to bake an unusually beautiful loaf of bread so beautiful and so perfect that it seemed to come from the hand of the Creator Himself. Rather than sell it, the baker decided to take the bread to the synagogue as an offering to the Creator who had made such a perfect loaf of bread possible.
"Alone in the sanctuary, the baker opened the sacred ark and gently placed the loaf of bread inside. He prayed for the Creator to accept his offering, and then departed.
"Just at that moment, a beggar happened to be passing by the synagogue. It had been a long time since he'd had anything to eat, and he felt as if he might die of starvation at any moment. Yet somehow he could not believe that this fate was what the Creator had intended for him. So he entered the synagogue and quietly made his way to the sanctuary. Kneeling before the ark, he explained his plight to the Creator.
"As soon as he'd completed his prayer, the beggar opened the ark, and there was the beautiful loaf of bread! Murmuring a new prayer of thanks, the beggar lifted the bread and hurried from the synagogue.
"For his part, the baker was wondering whether his offering to the Creator had been accepted, and he couldn't resist returning to find out. When he opened the ark and saw that the bread was gone, his heart leapt with joy. In fact, he resolved to make a new offering every week of a perfectly baked loaf of bread.
"As it happened, whenever the baker placed a new offering in the ark, the beggar once again found himself in desperate need of food. Time and again, the beggar prayed before the ark, and then opened it to find a new loaf of bread. Time and again, the baker returned to see if his offering had been accepted and was overjoyed to discover that the ark was empty. Both men, for different reasons, felt that their prayers had been answered and that they were at one with the Creator. This exchange went on for fourteen years, and not once did the beggar arrive before the baker and find the ark empty.
This is the beauty and simplicity with which the Creator fulfills our desires."