web analytics
April 18, 2014 / 18 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance
Kidz
Sponsored Post
Spa 1.2 Combining Modern Living in Traditional Jerusalem

A unique and prestigious residential project in now being built in Mekor Haim Street in Jerusalem.



The Greatest Treasure Of All


Tales-of-The-Midrash-logo

Share Button

“Wisdom is better than rubies, and all things desirable are not to be compared unto her” (Proverbs 8:2). Rabi Aha explained in the name of Rabi Tanchuma ben Rabi Chiya: “My desirable things and your desirable things are not to be compared to her.”

Arteban, the last Parthian king, once sent Rabi Yehudah HaNasi, a priceless gem with a request, “Let me have, in return, an article as valuable as this.”

Rabi Yehudah sent him a mezuzah.

The king sent back a message, “I gave you a priceless object, and you returned something worth a folar (a small debased coin).

Rabi Yehudah replied: “All of your desirable things are not compared unto her (the mezuzah, symbolizing the knowledge of G-d). Moreover, you sent me something that I must guard, whereas I sent you something that guards you while you are asleep, and while you are awake, as it says ‘When you walk, it shall lead you (in this World); When you lie down, it shall watch over you (in the hour of death); and when you awake, it shall talk with you”’ (in the World to Come) (Proverbs 6:22; Midrash Rabbah 35).

The Priceless Merchandise

Our sages compare the knowledge of Torah to priceless merchandise that we need never fear will be stolen or lost. They narrate the following story:

Once, a sage boarded a ship to travel to a distant land. Aboard the ship were many merchants who proudly displayed their wares. One merchant had the finest silks, another the widest varieties of spices, and another diamonds and jewelry.

Seeing the sage standing empty-handed they asked him, “What are your wares?”

“I have the finest of all merchandise,” he replied. “Mine is far more superior to any of your goods. I deal in knowledge and wisdom.”

The merchants all laughed at him. “Your knowledge will be a fine comfort to any empty and hungry belly!” they jeered.

The sage ignored them saying, “You will see who is right.”

In the middle of the voyage, a terrible storm arose and the ship began to sink. The passengers barely managed to scramble aboard a lifeboat but were forced to leave everything behind – their treasures and even their clothes. The lifeboat was washed up on a shore in a distant land, where the people ignored them and didn’t even care to give them food.

The sage, however, entered a beit midrash and soon the people became aware that there was a great man amongst them. They gave him honor and riches and people came from afar to hear his words of wisdom.

The merchants who had been reduced to beggars visited the sage and pleaded with him, “please intercede for us with the officials of this city to provide us with a means to survive. Tell them that we are not paupers but we were once prosperous merchants. Otherwise we will starve.”

The sage remonstrated with them, “Did I not tell you before that my merchandise is more valuable than yours? Your merchandise can be lost or stolen, whereas mine can never be lost. ‘A priceless gift I have given you”’ (Proverbs 4:2).

The Intricacies Of The Torah

Once, Rabi Yochanan ben Zakai was traveling on the road riding on a mule, while Rabi Elazar ben Arak was walking behind him.

Rabi Elazar said, “Master, teach me a chapter of the ‘Work of the Chariot.”’ (The mysteries of Creation and the Chariot as narrated in Yechezkel and other prophets.)

Rabi Yochanan answered, “Did I not teach you that we may not discuss the works of the Chariot with only one person, unless he is a sage and understands of his own knowledge?”

“Master,” said Rabbi Elazar, “permit me then to say something.”

Rabi Yochanan ben Zakai immediately dismounted from the mule, wrapped himself in his tallis and sat down on a stone beneath an olive tree.

When Rabbi Elazar saw him dismount, he asked, “Master, why did you dismount?”

Rabi Yochanan answered, “Is it proper that while you are expounding the ‘Work of the Chariot’ and the Divine Presence is with us and the ministering angels accompany us, that I should ride on a mule?”

Rabbi Elazar began his exposition and a fire came down from heaven and encompassed all the trees and the angels began to sing, “Praise the Lord from the earth, sea monsters and all deeps…fruitful trees and all cedars…” (Psalms 148:7,9,14). A Heavenly voice rang out and said, “This is the Work of the Chariot.”

Thereupon Rabi Yochanan ben Zakai rose and kissed Elazar on the head and said, “Blessed be the Lord, G-d of Israel, Who has given a son to Avraham our Father who knows how to speculate upon and to investigate and to expound the ‘Work of the Chariot’.

Rabi Yehoshua Follows Suit

When Rabi Yehoshua and Rabi Jose, the kohen, were told about these things, they were also going on a journey. They said to each other, “let us also expound on the ‘Work of the Chariot’. Rabi Yehoshua began to expound. It was a hot summer day, in the month of Tammuz, when suddenly the heavens became overcast with clouds and a rainbow appeared in the clouds and the ministering angels assembled and came to listen like people who assemble and come to watch the entertainment of a bridegroom and bride.

Rabi Jose related what happened to Rabbi Yochanan ben Zakai, and when he heard it, the latter said, “Happy are you and happy is she who bore you. Happy are my eyes that have seen thus. Great is your reward that you will all be admitted into G-d’s presence.”

Share Button

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

No Responses to “The Greatest Treasure Of All”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Flyers ordered Jews to appear at a designated location in Ukraine, in Sept., 1941. The next day, the Jews lined up at the Babi Yar Ravine.
‘Jews Must Register’ Flyer in Ukraine an Echo of Babi Yar
Latest Kidz Stories
Tales of the Gaonim-logo

“The mitzvah of drawing water for the baking of the matzah for the Seder comes only once a year. I do not care to share it with a horse.’’

Tales-of-The-Midrash-logo

“You speak foolishly, daughter, how is it possible for a man who has not eaten for 10 years to live?”

Tales of the Gaonim-logo

With enthusiasm, zemiros that had been purposefully collected for the evening were chanted.

Tales of the Gaonim-logo

Bnei Yisrael marched out of Mitzrayim with a mighty hand under their great leader Moshe. This was not, however, their first attempt to escape from Mitzrayim and return to the land that G-d had promised their fathers.

Rabi Pinchas’ piety and honesty were known far and wide. He would often say, “Even though our Sages (Yevamot 65b) declared that to preserve the peace, a person may change his words to fit the situation, I will never utter a false word regardless of the consequences.” If he heard that one of his followers had uttered a false word, he would expel him from his presence.

When Bnei Yisrael returned to their homeland they were a poor and weak group of people. Because of the great number of enemies and wild animals that had inhabited the land during their exile, they huddled together in a few areas, like Yerushalayim, in order to find protection.

But not everyone is destined to taste of the fruit of this world and to enjoy its vintage. Among the inhabitants of this town lived a poor man, Nachumka.

In the midst of his merrymaking, the king ordered his servants to bring out the golden vessels that were taken from the Beit HaMikdash by his father Nevuchadnezzar. The king and his men drank from them and praised the gods of gold and silver.

The Jewish people are hardly strangers to persecution and tyranny. When we hear of the complaints of other peoples, we smile bitterly and wonder: What do they know of persecution? What do they know of tragedy and bitterness? We are a people who have experienced oppression for centuries and have drunk deeply of the bitter cup of woe.

Although Daniel was the chief minister in Bavel, he could not eradicate the custom practiced in many provinces of worshipping idols. In the capital city there was a statue of Baal and more and more people began to worship it. Even the king was beginning to believe in its power.

There was once a tzaddik from Poland, Reb Velveli, who decided to settle in Eretz Yisrael. The land was poor and inhabited by very few people, but he and his wife had such love for the land that they were willing to suffer privation and hunger just to be one of its citizens.

Through the influence of Daniel, one of Nevuchadnezar’s ministers, his three companions, Chananiah, Mishael and Azariah were appointed as governors over various provinces in Bavel.

The stories concerning Rav Naftali of Ropshitz are quite numerous and reveal his sharp biting wit. Rav Naftali was often persecuted and sneered at by misnagdim but the sharp mind with which he was blessed always served him in good stead in finding proper answers.

In the third year of the reign of Yehoyakim, melech Yehuda, Nevuchadnezzar, melech Bavel, lay siege to Yerushalayim and conquered it. He took many treasures from the Beis HaMikdash back with him to the land of Shinar.

Reb Moshe Chaim Ephraim, the grandson of the Baal Shem Tov, was a deeply learned man who took his sources and admonitions from the Torah.

In the city of Antioch there lived a man of remarkable generosity by the name of Aba Yehudah. He was a man who gave to all, whenever there was a need. Rabi Yehoshua and several other rabbanim arrived in the city one day on an urgent mission to collect money for the unfortunate needy. They knew that Aba Yehudah always gave a generous contribution so they looked forward to seeing him.

More Articles from Rabbi Sholom Klass
Tales of the Gaonim-logo

“The mitzvah of drawing water for the baking of the matzah for the Seder comes only once a year. I do not care to share it with a horse.’’

Tales-of-The-Midrash-logo

“You speak foolishly, daughter, how is it possible for a man who has not eaten for 10 years to live?”

With enthusiasm, zemiros that had been purposefully collected for the evening were chanted.

Bnei Yisrael marched out of Mitzrayim with a mighty hand under their great leader Moshe. This was not, however, their first attempt to escape from Mitzrayim and return to the land that G-d had promised their fathers.

Rabi Pinchas’ piety and honesty were known far and wide. He would often say, “Even though our Sages (Yevamot 65b) declared that to preserve the peace, a person may change his words to fit the situation, I will never utter a false word regardless of the consequences.” If he heard that one of his followers had uttered a false word, he would expel him from his presence.

When Bnei Yisrael returned to their homeland they were a poor and weak group of people. Because of the great number of enemies and wild animals that had inhabited the land during their exile, they huddled together in a few areas, like Yerushalayim, in order to find protection.

But not everyone is destined to taste of the fruit of this world and to enjoy its vintage. Among the inhabitants of this town lived a poor man, Nachumka.

In the midst of his merrymaking, the king ordered his servants to bring out the golden vessels that were taken from the Beit HaMikdash by his father Nevuchadnezzar. The king and his men drank from them and praised the gods of gold and silver.

    Latest Poll

    Now that Kerry's "Peace Talks" are apparently over, are you...?







    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/kidz/midrash-stories/the-greatest-treasure-of-all/2013/04/12/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: