Picking esrogim

This too is for
the good!

Why was Nachum Ish Gamzu so called? For, about everything that happened to him, even that which was not good, he would say, "This too, "Gam zu", is for the good," as we see in the next story:

The Jewish people needed to buy Caesar's goodwill by sending him a gift. "Who should go as our representative," they wondered. "Surely, no one is better suited for this mission than Nachum Ish Gamzu, for whom the heavens perform miracles." They sent him with a chest of precious gems and pearls.

On the way, he spent a night at a hotel. While he slept, the owners stole the gems from his chest, replacing them with dust. In the morning, he noticed the sand in the chest.[1]

"This too is for the good," he said to himself, and continued on his mission.

He presented the chest to Caesar who opened it. Seeing the dust, he assumed that the Jews were mocking him. He was so angry, he decided to execute the entire Jewish people.

"This too is for the good," Nachum Ish Gamzu said to himself.

At that moment, Eliyahu HaNavi miraculously appeared in the guise of an important officer.

"Maybe," he said to Caesar, "this is the sand their ancestor Avraham used to fight and conquer the kings.[2] When he threw sand at them, they died as though slaughtered by swords. When he threw straw at them, they died as though pierced by arrows."

Caesar had a particular enemy state that had resisted all his attempts to conquer it. He therefore, took the dust and tested it in the next battle. He was victorious.

He then brought Nachum Ish Gamzu into his treasure house, filled his chest with precious gems, and sent him home in honor.

Going home, Nachum Ish Gamzu again stopped at the same hotel. Eagerly, the hotel owners asked him what important gift he had brought to the Caesar that he should return in such honor.

"What I took from here," he told them, "is what I brought to Caesar."

On hearing his story, they tore their hotel apart that they might bring all of its dust to Caesar. "We have brought you the same dust that Nachum Ish Gamzu brought you," they proudly reported. "That dust came from our hotel!"

The Romans tested the dust, but it failed to produce the same results. They then executed those hotel owners.

(Taanis 21a)

[1] It is surprising that he saw he no longer had the gems, only useless dust, yet he continued on to Caesar's palace. We must say though, that his faith in Hashem was so strong, he couldn't possibly imagine Hashem allowing anything to happen that would not be for his benefit.

[2] Breishis 14

[ Homepage / We appreciate your donation - please click here ]
All rights reserved (c) Avraham Tzvi Schwartz

var wc_version=1;