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December 25, 2014 / 3 Tevet, 5775
 
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The Earthquake (Part III)


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As Zemira threw herself (and her infant), into the path of the king’s carriage, the crowd shrieked. Hastily, the driver reined the horses up sharply, and the hoofs of the lead horse stopped barely inches from where she lay.

The king, seeing the drama unfolding before his very eyes, leaped from the carriage and, in a moment, was at Zemira’s side.

“What is wrong, my daughter? Why did you throw yourself and your child before my horses?’

Zemira raised her tear stained face and looked into the eyes of the king: “Your Majesty, your servants have taken my husband, the gentlest man who ever lived, and brought him to the dungeons. They have accused him of the most terrible of crimes and say that they will sever his head. You must help me to save him.”

When the king learned who her husband was, he looked at her sadly and said: “My dear young maiden, I wish that I could help you, but if your husband is the criminal you speak of there is nothing to do, for he is indeed guilty of all the crimes with which he has been charged.”

“To begin with, his name is not, as you think, Avinadav the son of Uzziel from Hebron, but rather Raamyah, the son of Yaktan. He left his father’s home and joined a band of robbers who plundered and stole….”

But Zemira would not allow the king to finish his words and she interrupted him saying, “Be that as it may, I beg you to allow me to see my husband in his dungeon and comfort him in his last days on this earth before his execution.”

“Your request is granted,” replied the king.

Zemira Sees Her Husband

The day after the festival of Sukkos, Zemira was brought to the dungeons, the last resting place of the condemned man before execution.

She was taken to her husband’s cell. When she saw his gaunt and sad face, she burst into tears.

“Do not weep, Zemira,” he cried. “Forget me for I have shamed you and tricked you and brought disgrace unto you and your father’s house forever.”

“I will not forget you ever, for you are the husband of my youth,” declared Zemira.

The Husband’s Story

When the husband saw that nothing that he could say would shake his wife, he turned to her and said: “Let me tell you the story of my sad life so that it may be a lesson to you so that you may raise our dear child to be a lover of Torah and the way of G-d.

“My father was an officer in the army and he was rarely home. Consequently, he turned me over to my mother to raise me and guide me in life.

“My mother loved me deeply and taught me to walk in the ways of the L-rd. Thus, the first 15 years of my life were spent in joy and tranquility.

“Alas, when I was 15 years old my beloved mother passed away and my father eventually married a second woman who was as evil as my mother was good. She hated me and made my life one of torture and suffering.

“Because of this I wandered about and found friends who also came from unhappy homes and I began to run with them. My stepmother told my father that I was becoming friendly with these boys and he forbade me to see them. I was very frightened of my father and I, of course, obeyed, but this was not enough for my stepmother. She continued to tell my father lies about me until one day she demanded that either she or I leave the house.

“My father was under her influence and so he drove me from my house. Where could I go if not to the friends that I had made?”

The Influence

“My friends were delighted. One day they said, ‘We have heard that there are bands of men who roam the countryside secretly and who fall upon wealthy merchants and take their money and property. Why shouldn’t we do the same?’

“At first I refused to even listen to them and when they saw this they left me and went to join the bandits themselves. I was left alone in the city until the pangs of hunger seized me and I decided that there was nothing left for me but to go join my friends in their fields.

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It’s a special one. Some sort of family heirloom.

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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.

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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.

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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