The Roman emperor Hadrian returned from Yisrael. He had taken part in destroying the second Temple.
" You see," he boasted to the Romans, "I fought against the G-d of the Jews! I destroyed His land; I burned His House, and I enslaved His people, the Jews. Therefore, I am also a god now. Obey and serve me!"
Three of the wisest ministers were present.
The first one arose respectfully and said,"Oh, Emperor! How can you say you defeated G-d, as long as you are still in His plalace? Leave His palace and then we will declare you as a god! The heaven and earth are G-d's plalace. If you can go outside heaven and earth, we will serve you!"
Then the second minister responded to Hadrian's boast.
"I wish to make a small request!" he announced. "If you fulfill it, we will all serve you. This is my request: There is a ship in the ocean which has all my money on board. A strong storm wind has arisen which prevents it from landing. I am an unhappy man, for all my money will be lost. Just make my ship land and I will surely serve you as a god!"
Very well," replied Hadrian. "I will send out my whole fleet to help you. The sailors will throw out ropes and haul your ship to the coast."
"Why do you give such complicated orders?" asked the minister. "Just send a wind to bring my ship to the shore!"
"I don't know how to command the wind," said Hadrian.
"How, then, do you as us to serve you"? said the minister. "G-d created the wind and rules over it. How can you pretend to be a god?"
The third minister told Hadrian"We will serve you if you command the sea to withdraw, so that dry land will appear and people can settle on it!"
"That's impossible for me," admitted Hadrian.
"But when G-d created the sea, " said the minister meaningfully, "He was able to command the sea and tell it exactly where to flow! How then, do you compare yourself to G-d?!"
Hadrian was very angry at his ministers. He went home and complained to his wife that they refused to serve him. His wife was very smart. She said, "Do one little thing and you will be considered a god!"
"What shall I do?" Hadrian asked her.
"Return your soul to G-d," she said.
"Are you out of your mind?" he asked her. "If my soul leaves my body, I won't be alive any more!"
"How can you then claim to be a god?" his wife asked him. "You are not even in command of your own life, and you want to make believe that you rule over heaven and earth?!
"Let us better serve God, Who created heaven and earth, Who made the plants and animals, Who created all people and keeps them alive."