The Businessman, the Pebbles, and the Path to God: A True Story

There was a wealthy Israeli businessman who was preparing to purchase the 17th floor of the Azrieli building in Tel Aviv as it was being built. At the last moment, a colleague informed him of an even better opportunity for profit by acquiring a particular plot of land in Romania that had just become available for purchase.

Seeing green, the businessman pulled out of the Azrieli project in favor of the Romanian land, taking out a sizeable loan to seal the deal.

However, a number of months later, it was revealed that this colleague had conned the businessman and, while the transaction did actually go through, the land that had been purchased was not zoned for building thereby preventing him from capitalizing on his investment.

The businessman now found himself stuck with a relatively useless piece of Romanian land and a large debt he had no way of paying off.

He turned to relatives and friends to lend him some money, but no one would give him a cent.

Instead, he was given the idea to take a loan out from the black market.

The idea appealed to him as he felt he had no other option, and he got himself connected to the "right" person from which he would receive the loan.

And where was he to meet this individual to receive it?

He was told to come to an office in the now-built-up Azrieli building—floor 17!

He walks into the building and he can't believe what his eyes are seeing. Everything is sharp, modern, stylish—and rented out!

Heavy-heartedly, he makes his way to the 17th floor where he meets with the man from the black market and walks away with a large sum of cash to be paid back at an agreed upon date.

Still "eating his heart out" at the sight of the building, the businessman decides to have a look around at some of the upper level floors.

He arrives to the top floor and feels like getting some air and checking out the view on the roof, so he walks out onto the roof and suddenly hears a "thud" behind him—the door closing shut.

He runs over to it and tries to open it, but it's of no use; the door has a built-in automatic lock. He bangs on the door, but no one is anywhere near it.

He hurries to the ledge and tries calling down, but of course, there was no way anyone down on the street could hear him.

The businessman waits around for a while holding on to the faint hope that someone will open the door to the roof, but eventually comes to terms with what he knew all along: there is no reason why anyone would be making their way onto the roof, and he must find a more creative way to get back inside if he doesn't want to end up starving to death on the roof.

Just then it occurs to him to take some of the bills he just received on loan and toss them off the roof. Surely, people would be delighted by the money, wonder where it came from, and that would lead them back to him.

Or so he thought.

The man threw a stack of bills off the roof, and as they reached the street below, people excitedly snatched the money, but never looked up to see where the money was coming from.

He figured he would try it again.

Again, he threw a stack of bills off the roof . . . and again the people below were overjoyed by their good fortune to have money falling on their heads from the heavens, but never took the time or made the effort to trace the money back to its source.

Since it was unreasonable to think that anyone would be coming out onto the roof, the man figured that he had nothing to lose by tossing the rest of the cash loan in the hope that someone would find him. But, again, the crowd snatched the money and giddily went on with their day.

At that point, the man realized that there was nothing he could do. He was out of resources and ideas, and he was helpless.

So what does one do when he is an isolated and dire position?

He turns his eyes heavenward to God.

Despite never taking God into account in his business dealings or personal life, he said the simple but heartfelt words, "God save me. I'm all out of ideas. There is nothing I can do. Please help me."

Just then, he noticed blocks, bricks, and stones left over from the construction of the building right there on the roof. He had seen it earlier, but hadn't taken notice of it.

He thinks to himself that the people below may not have connected the dots back to him when money landed on their heads, but certainly they will connect the dots if he drops pebbles on their heads.

And, sure enough, he drops some pebbles, a few of them land on the people below (not causing harm), and he is delighted to see their disgruntled reaction and the commotion it causes as they mobilized to figure out where the pebbles were falling from.

The people on the street called building security, and within a few minutes there is someone on the roof taking the man into their custody.