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March 3, 2015 / 12 Adar , 5775
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Authority In Israel

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A Voice

         Rabbi Eliezer now faced the rabbanim and said:

         If all these proofs are not enough for you let Heaven itself prove my position.”

         No sooner had he finished speaking than a voice from Heaven cried out:

         “Do not differ with Rabi Eliezer, for the law is as he says.”

         But not even this could help Rabi Eliezer. Once again Rabi Yehoshua rose and looking to Heaven said:

       “We cannot listen to a voice from Heaven. The Torah is not in Heaven. It was given to us at Sinai and in it was declared: ‘After the majority shall you go.’”

         “We cannot allow a minority to defy the rule of the many. This would doom the Torah.”

         And so it was decided, for the unity of the Torah, that Rabbi Eliezer who refused to obey the will of the majority would be placed under the ban.

The Storm

As Rabi Eliezer was under the ban, Rabban Gamliel boarded a ship for a voyage on the sea. Swiftly, the sky darkened and the waves lashed at the tiny craft. It appeared certain that the ship was doomed and that in only a matter of minutes she would go under with all aboard.

         Rabban Gamliel, seeking the danger said to himself: “It must be that all this is because of Rabi Eliezer.

         Raising his eyes to Heaven he spoke:

        “Sovereign of the Universe! It is known to You that all that I have done is not because of personal honor or for the honor of my father’s house. Rather it was done only for Your honor – that there not be multiply differences and divisions in Israel.”

         Hearing this, the Almighty commanded the sea to calm its wrath. Such is the importance of proper authority in Israel.

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“I wanted you to have a taste of the cold,” answered Rav Chaim. “This way, you too can feel the intense cold and realize the suffering of this man and his wife, who are now residing in a bitterly cold house.”

Gaonim-Midrash-logo-NEW

“Don’t worry,” said the king, “what could it be worth, two or three talents of gold? I’ll give you ten talents of gold, so you can forget about it.”

Shmuel HaKatan shook his head and said: “No, what happened here today is a sign not of great love. On the contrary, it is a bad omen.”

The arguments, however, could never appease his wife and one Thursday she came to him for money to purchase food for Shabbos.

He walked out of the room, making sure to leave the door ajar so that the two litigants could hear his voice.

Don’t you know Avraham, the famous dry goods merchant, who lives near the lake in a big mansion?

“What could I do? Your wife is hard of hearing,” whispered the poor woman barely able to talk.

“I would appreciate if you could give me some pointers on how to improve my wine,” said the wine merchant eagerly.

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