The great giant of his time, the Vilna Gaon, once said that the Shaagas Aryeh had the entire Talmud and its commentators at his fingertips and that he could relate the gist of all of them and their sources in one hour.
As for myself, I can only answer that the yetzer hara has persuaded me to take the position because of the honor.
“It must be that beggar,” he exclaimed. “He probably stole my cane.”
“If, however, he rules the other way – that something is not kosher when in reality it is kosher – and thus robs a poor man of his money, this is a far more serious thing.
“Come now, I insist. Tell me what errand of mercy you are on so that I too may have a share in the mitzvah.”
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The man has been found guilty and his soul is bitter because of it.
Now I know why Hashem punished us with the confiscation of our shul.
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.