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February 28, 2015 / 9 Adar , 5775
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The Earthquake (Conclusion)


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“Leave me Zemira,” cried Raamyah, “I have shamed you and your family. I have deceived my child whom I love so much. Turn your back on me for I can offer you only tragedy and unhappiness.”

“ Never!” cried the unhappy Zemira. “I will never forsake you and I forbid you to talk this way. Never say to yourself that hope is lost. Have not our Sages taught, ‘Though a sharp sword rest on the neck of a man, he shall not lose hope but look forward to the mercies of the Almighty’?”

Raamyah Gains Hope

Listening to his wife speak the prisoner took heart once again and for the first time since becoming a prisoner, his eyes lit up.

“If only I knew that Uzziel and his father whom I sold into slavery were still alive, I would flee this prison, and run to them to ask their forgiveness and free them from their slavery. I would then serve them forever.”

“If only some miracle would come about and allow you to be free of this prison, I would go with you and be a maid-servant with you.”

Just as she spoke these words, the door of the dungeon was opened and a guard walked in and said to Zemira, “you must go now for the time for your husband’s execution draws near.”

The Cry

As Zemira heard these words she let out such a terrible cry that the very earth shook. Such a cry had never been heard before as it came from the depths of the soul. The ground trembled beneath their feet and the walls of the building came crashing down. The city was suffering an earthquake.

The guards fled in panic fearing that the end of the world had come, and Zemira and Raamyah were left alone, free from the walls that had enclosed them.

“Look Zemira,” cried her husband, “the walls of the prison are down. Now is our opportunity to flee and find the two poor souls whom I had sold so unjustly.”

They Flee

Since they knew the area around Lebanon well, they decided to flee there. For three days and nights they traveled, fearful of pursuit. No one followed them however, because of the great fear that the earthquake had placed in their souls. For the quake had not only leveled the prison, but, it had caused havoc throughout the land of Israel.

Thus, Raamyah and Zemira were able to reach the hills of Lebanon in safety. There they encountered a former slave whom Raamyah had ransomed and given his freedom.

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

“Years ago you aided me when I was a poor slave. Now, ask of me what you will and I will be only too glad to aid you.”

“I thank you for your kind words,” replied Raamyah, “but there is only one thing I desire now. If only there was someway for me to discover the whereabouts of Uzziel and his father from Hebron whom I sold as slaves, I would ask nothing else.”

News Of The Slaves

When the former slave heard this, he replied, “there are two servants in this household who have recently come from the land of the Pilishtim. Perhaps they will know where these people whom you seek are located.”

“Please ask them,” pleaded Zemira.

When the two servants were brought in and asked if they know the whereabouts of the two people, one of them shook his head, but the other said, “I believe that the two people whom you seek are slaves in the city of Gahs.”

Zemira Sells Her Property

Hearing this Zemira wasted no time. She realized that if they found the two unfortunates, they would need money in order to ransom them. She sold her father’s property and prepared to go with her husband to the city of Gahs in the land of the Pilishtim.

For many days they traveled until they reached the city. They did not tell the slaves who they were but went directly to the owner and said, “we wish to buy the two slaves that you have here.”

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“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.”

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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.”

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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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