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December 22, 2014 / 30 Kislev, 5775
 
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G-d Raises The Lowly


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Our Sages tell the story of a very rich man, who as he grew old began to worry about his future.

“What good is all my wealth?” he asked, “if I may soon have to leave it behind me.”

He approached the Sages who ad­vised him to give charity and, if possible, to give it to a person who no longer has any hope.  In this way his kind deeds would serve as a good advo­cate in the World to Come.

 

Seeks A Hopeless Man

The rich man then set out to find such a person. Traveling out of town he passed by cemetery and saw a dirty, unkempt man sitting in the dirt. Approaching this man he gave him 100 gold coins.

The man looked up at him in amaze­ment. “Why do you give me this money?” he asked. “Why don’t you give the money to the poor people in town?”

“Because I had made a vow that I would only give my money to a person who has thrown away all hope and who is in terrible despair,” answered the rich man. “You seem to be just such a kind of a person.”

“You fool!” shouted the poor man angrily. “Do you for one moment think that I have lost hope in this world? Or that I still don’t believe that G-d will help me? I trust in G-d that he will help me for he has ‘pity over all his creations’. Take back your money, you fool!”

“Is this the reward I receive for try­ing to help you,” asked the rich man. “Not only did you not accept my money but you also insulted me.”

“Because you would make it appear that I have lost faith in G-d. Only the dead forsake G-d,” retorted the poor man.

 

Buries His Money

Not knowing what to do, the rich man decided to bury the money near one of the graves. This way, he figured, he would be giving the money to people who have lost all hope.

Many months passed and the wheel of fortune turned. The rich man suffered many misfortunes and he became a very poor man. One day he remembered the money that he had buried near a grave and went to dig it up.

However, one of the cemetery caretakers saw him and had him arrested on charges of stealing from a grave, which was considered a very serious offense. He was brought before the chief magistrate of the city.

 

Poor Man Becomes Magistrate

Now it happened that the chief mag­istrate was the unkempt man the rich person had seen sitting in the cemetery many years before.  His fa­ther has been chief magistrate and upon his death the city elders appointed him to his father’s position.

When the man was brought before the chief magistrate, the magistrate recognized him but said nothing about it.

“Do you know that your deeds are punishable by death in this city?” said the Chief Magistrate.

“No, my Lord,” answered the dis­traught man. “I never intended to open a grave. I was only digging for the money which I had hid in that spot many years before.” He then went on to relate his entire experience at that time.

The magistrate relented and said, “Don’t you recognize me?”

“How can a servant recognize his master?” answered the man.

“I am that same man to whom you tried to give money, thinking that I had thrown away all hope from this world. Fear not, I have never forgotten your kind deed to me.”

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Time passed and Zemira gave birth to a son but not even this could awaken Avinadav from his melancholy.

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“I do nothing worthwhile,” he modestly replied and refused to discuss any of his deeds. For the man was a very modest and humble person.

While he slept, he dreamed of Eliyahu HaNavi, who was trying to awaken him from his sleep.

“I’ll pay you whether you cure her or kill her,” shouted the loyal husband.

He lacked for nothing materialistic and could have lived the rest of his life, had he chosen to, in the luxury and laziness that dominated the Roman upper class life.

When the soldiers heard this they exclaimed happily: “You mean this is the sacred Jewish fruit? Hurry, get on the horse. You are coming with us to the palace.”

Now let me ask you, what would happen to an infantryman if he deserted his regiment and went to serve in the cavalry? He would be court-martialed, wouldn’t he?”

Dug out beneath his bunk was a little chest which he guarded with his very life. It contained a small Sefer Torah, miniature size, but kosher, and a shofar.

So began a marvelous period of good fortune. He invested the twenty-four gold pieces in many types of businesses and everything his hand touched turned to gold.

Pressing close to the cage, the Ibn Ezra shouted the words, “Shema Yisrael…”

“You can have your choice,” said the wise king. “You can choose to take this gold, 100 pieces each, or I can give you each three pieces of advice.”

“It isn’t the work,” said Eliezer. “I want to learn our holy Torah.”

More Articles from Rabbi Sholom Klass
Tales-of-The-Midrash-logo

The man was overjoyed to see his benefactor and gave them food and water besides shelter and safety.

Tales-of-The-Midrash-logo

Because of this I wandered about and found friends in similar situations who were also unhappy and I began to hang out with them.

Time passed and Zemira gave birth to a son but not even this could awaken Avinadav from his melancholy.

Yonadav was greatly impressed at the vast sums of money the young man had in his possessions.

“I do nothing worthwhile,” he modestly replied and refused to discuss any of his deeds. For the man was a very modest and humble person.

While he slept, he dreamed of Eliyahu HaNavi, who was trying to awaken him from his sleep.

“I’ll pay you whether you cure her or kill her,” shouted the loyal husband.

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