Many are the plans in a person’s heart,
but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails. — Proverbs 19:21
There is a classic story in the Talmud about a man named Yosef. This man had an addendum to his name due to his great love for the Sabbath. He was called Yosef Moikir Shabbos, or “Yosef who Honors the Sabbath.” Every week, even though Yosef had little money of his own, he would go to the market and buy the best, most expensive food to honor the Sabbath.
In the same town as Yosef lived a very wealthy, yet extremely wicked man. One day, astrologers approached him and told the rich man that they saw in the stars that he would soon lose his wealth and that it would all go to a Jew in the town named Yosef. The evil man knew exactly who the astrologers were talking about.
He hated Yosef and he hated how he honored the Sabbath. So the man came up with a plan. He sold everything he had and invested the money into one precious gem. He sewed the gem into his hat, and his hat never left his head. The wealthy man was sure he had prevented the dreaded prediction from coming true.
Then, one day, as the evil man was walking, an unusual wind blew and tore the hat off his head, sending it out into the sea. The man was crushed, but one thought consoled him: “I may have lost my wealth,” he thought, “but at least it didn’t go to that deplorable Jew, Yosef.”
Later that week, fishermen who knew Yosef would pay any price in honor of the Sabbath, brought him a beautiful fish. It cost a hefty sum, but of course Yosef was happy to buy it. That Sabbath, as Yosef cut the fish, his knife struck something hard. Looking inside at what the fish had swallowed Yosef found a priceless gem – the very same one that had once been sewn into a certain man’s hat!
This story exemplifies the words of Proverbs which state: “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.” This is one of those verses that we all should remind ourselves of every day. We can make plans, but nothing happens without God’s help. We can set goals, but none are reached without God’s approval.
People can try and fight God’s will, but it’s a losing battle. God’s purpose will always prevail. No matter how things look in the world today, we need to remember that God’s plan will come to pass. No matter how things look in our lives, God’s plan unfolds perfectly, and at just the right time. So let’s plan and then pray because God’s true purpose will come to fruition.
With prayers for shalom, peace,
Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein
Founder and President