Once, the Ba’al Shem Tov was thinking about how great his faith in Hashem was. A heavenly voice called out, “Reb Yisroel, don’t become proud. Yankel the Innkeper has more faith than you.”The Ba’al Shem Tov decided to go to visit Yankel the Innkeper. He stayed there several weeks but there didn’t seem to be anything special about Yankel. . .until one Shabbos.
In the middle the evening meal, a local peasant came in and banged three times on the table with his stick, and then left. Reb Yankel explained that it is a sign that he must soon pay the rent; 5000 rubles and Reb Yankel admitted that he doesn’t have the money, nor is he planning on borrowing any. Hashem will help, as He always has.
The next Shabbos, the peasant returned issueing the same warning. Reb Yankel yelled at him, “Don’t come back until tomorrow.” The peasant yelled back, “Jew, if you don’t get the money, we are going to feed you to the dogs!”
The next day, Reb Yankel went about his business. In the morning, three businessmen came by and asked him if he could act as their agent to buy wheat for them for the Czar, and they will pay him 2000 rubles for the effort. Yankel demanded 5000 rubles. They offered 2500, then 3000, but Yankel refused. They didn’t come to an agreement, and the men left.
Around 2:00 in the same afternoon, the peasant came back. He banged on the door and screamed, “Jew, pay up!” “Get out, cried Yankel”, I have until nightfall”.
A half hour before nightfall, the peasant returned. He just opened the door and walked right in. Reb Yankel is completely unperturbed. He says, “Just a minute”, takes his hat and walking stick and walks out to the road. At that moment, the three wheat merchants came riding over the hill. They agreed to his price, and they all went inside and closed the deal.
That, the Ba’al Shem Tov later remarked, is true Faith in Hashem.