the seven years of plenty, the land produced in abundance. And [Joseph]
fathered all the grain of the seven years that the land of Egypt
was enjoying, and stored the grain in the cities; he put in each
city the grain of the fields around it..." (Genesis 41:48)
Once a rich man fell upon hard times and lost all his wealth. In order
to support, his family, he took a job as a manual laborer.
One day Elijah appeared
to him disguised as an Arab and said to him, "You are destined
to enjoy seven good years of prosperity. Do you want them now or at
the end of your life?"
"You are a
devil!" cried the man, and chased Elijah away.
Again Elijah appeared
and repeated his offer.
are a wizard!" cried the man, and chased him away.
A third time he
appeared, and this time the man said,"I shall ask my wife for advice."
She told him, "Ask
for the good years now. For if we ask for them at the end of our lives,
we will know our days are numbered as soon as good fortune comes to
So he went back
and told Elijah what his wife had said.
When he returned
home that day, his children greeted him trembling with excitement and
said, "Father, see what we found while we were digging under the
large stone in our yard! A treasure!"
His wife said to him, "Let us use this gift wisely. If we share
what we have with those less fortunate, perhaps God may grant us more
And so for the next
seven years, they opened their hands generously to the poor and performed
many acts of charity. At the end of seven years, Elijah once again appeared
to the man. "I have come to take back my pledge," he said.
"I asked my
wife's advice the first time you appeared," the man told him. "Let
me consult with her again."
So he ran home and
told his wife that the messenger had come to reclaim their fortune.
said his wife, "that if he can find two people who have used such
a pledge more wisely than we, he can have it back."
searched the world over, but nowhere did he find two people with more
generous hearts. So he never returned to reclaim his pledge. And they
enjoyed prosperity and good health until a ripe old age.