But the words would penetrate their hearts and each would say to himself: “But I, too, am doing this terrible thing.” In this way Reb Elimelech would inspire the people to teshuvah.
“I will tell you,” replied the rav. “I am very puzzled at why you suddenly desire to honor me and have me as your guest. What quality do you find in me that is new and worthy of merit?
“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.”
“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.
“And what was your grandfather’s name?” asked the visitor. “The same as my name,” replied the child.
The trial was the next day and he hadn’t as yet told the family what he would do.
The man was overjoyed to see his benefactor and gave them food and water besides shelter and safety.
Because of this I wandered about and found friends in similar situations who were also unhappy and I began to hang out with them.
While he slept, he dreamed of Eliyahu HaNavi, who was trying to awaken him from his sleep.
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.”
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.
“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.”
He followed her advice and, before departing, the rabbanim offered him a bracha. “Aba Yudin, may the Lord return your wealth, for all the kind deeds you do.”