tude and tenderness of their mothers. Then when the infants acquire a little power and will, the milk ceases. These various instances clearly prove that licit sustenance is not proportionate to will and power, but comes in relation to weakness and impotence, which induce trust in God.
Will, power and cleverness frequently incite greed, which is a source of loss, and often push certain learned men toward a form of beggary, whereas by contrast the trusting weakness of the boorish, crude and common man may cause him to attain riches.
The proverb, “How many a learned man has striven in vain, and how many an ignoramus gained rich provision,” establishes that licit provision is not won by power and will, but by a mercy that finds working and striving acceptable; it is bestowed by a tenderness that takes pity on need.
Now provision and sustenance is of two kinds:
The First is true and natural provision, that required for life; this is guaranteed by the Sustainer. It is indeed so regular and well-ordered that this natural provision, stored in the body in the form of fat and other things, is enough to ensure survival for at least twenty days, even if nothing is eaten. Those who apparently die of hunger before the twenty or thirty days are up and before the provision stored up in their body is exhausted, die in reality not from a lack of provision, but from a disease arising from lack of caution and the disturbance of fixed habit.
The Second Form of Provision: metaphorical and artifical provision, arising due to addiction from habit, wastefulness and misuse, but acquiring the appearance of necessity. This form is not guaranteed by the Sustainer, but depends on His generosity: sometimes He may give it, sometimes He may not give it.
With respect to this second form of provision and sustenance, happy is he who regards his frugality —a source of happiness and pleasure— contentment and licit striving, as a form of worship and active prayer for sustenance. He accepts God’s bounty gratefully and appreciatively, and passes his life in happpy fashion.
Wretched is he who on account of prodigality —the source of wretchedness and loss— and greed, abandons licit striving, knocks at every door, passes his life in sloth, oppression and wretchedness, and indeed puts his own life to death.
In the same way that a stomach requires sustenance, so too the subtle capacities and senses of man, his heart, spirit, intelligence, eye, ear and mouth, also request their sustenance from the Compassionate Provider and gratefully receive it. To each of them separately and in appropriate