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January 30, 2015 / 10 Shevat, 5775
 
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Shmuel Hakatan


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When he saw that they had come he began to move his lips feebly. The rabbis hurried over to make out what he was saying.

“Woe unto us,” he whispered with a terrible sigh. “The great Rabi Shimon and Yishmael will be killed by the sword, their fellow sages will be led forth to slaughter, the people will be plundered by the enemy and terrible evils and events are preparing to come the land.”

The sages heard these ter­rible words and they fell back in fear. At that moment the soul of Shmuel Hakatan, the giant of Torah and the humble, modest sage, returned to its Maker.

And Rabban Gamliel commanded that Shmuel Hakatan’s notebook and his key be placed in his coffin, and the sages mourned him saying:

“If a king shall die – his son shall inherit his crown. If a wealthy man shall pass on, his sons will take over his wealth. But with Shmuel Hakatan dying childless, wisdom has died with him.”

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“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.

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