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 Long Sleep


Tales-of-The-Midrash-logo

Share Button

One day, the great sage Choni HaMagel pondered the meaning of Tehillim 26, “A song of ascent, when Hashem returned the captives of Tzyon, we were like them in that dream.”

This pasuk refers to the 70 years of galus that existed between the first and second Batei Mikdash. “Why does the Lord compare this to a dream?” he asked. “Is it possible that a person is able to sleep for 70 years?”

Choni HaMagel sought the meaning of the sentence but couldn’t find it and was very distraught. He prayed to G-d to show him the meaning.

One day he happened to be walking along the road and noticed an elderly man planting a carob tree.

“Tell me, my good man,” said Choni, “how long does it take for this tree to bear fruit?”

“It takes 70 years to produce fruit,” answered the old man.

“Do you believe that you can live 70 more years to derive benefit from the fruit of this tree?” asked Choni.

“I found this carob tree in this world,” replied the old man. “Just as my ancestors planted the tree for my sake, so do I plant this tree for the sake of those who will follow me.”

Falls Into A Deep Sleep

Without commenting upon the reply of the old man, Choni sat down to eat. After he finished his meal, a deep sleep fell over him. A rock sprang up near the place where Choni lay fast asleep and the rock grew up high in the form of a tent, until it encircled him completely. Thus he slumbered for 70 years in the tent-like rock, protected from the rain, sun and wild beasts.

Awakens To A New World

At the end of 70 years, the tent-like rock unfolded itself and Choni Hamagel awoke. Stretching himself, he walked out and noticed a young man picking carobs from the tree he had seen planted.

Choni was amazed and asked the man, “Do you know who planted the tree? Are you perhaps the same man who planted it?”

“No, I am not,” was the reply. “This tree was planted by my father’s father, 70 years ago.”

Choni was astounded at what he had heard. “Apparently, I must have been sleeping for 70 years,” he thought to himself.

He reminded himself that he had left a mare upon whom he had been riding and which was expecting to give birth. He noticed only some bones, whitened and hardened with age and nearby a large herd of horses and mules.

He asked the young man, “Whose animals are these?”

The young man replied, “I recall that my father told me that many years before his time a traveler had left over a mare that gave birth and from her came many, many offspring until they multiplied into this large herd. They remained in this place, without any shepherd or caretaker watching over them. No one has bothered them and it is miraculous that they remain in this place and do not wander away.”

Choni was then convinced that he had slept for 70 years.

Returns Home

Choni Hamagel then returned to his home town. He was amazed at the transformation – new houses were built and many of the old houses were gone. There were new streets and avenues and the town appeared twice the size he remembered it to be. It all appeared strange to him and he was disturbed that he recognized nobody. Every person was a complete stranger to him.

Approaching one of the passersby, Choni asked him, “Will you please be kind enough to direct me to the home of the son of Choni Hamagel?”

The man looked at him incredulously. “You must be joking,” he said. “Everyone knows he died many years ago.”

“Did he leave a son or a daughter?” he asked.

“Yes,” replied the man, “there is Asa Chilkiyahu and Chanan Hanechba, the sons of his daughter.”

Reveals His Identity

“May I ask you who you are?” the man inquired.

“Yes,” he replied, “I am Choni Hamagel.”

The man burst into laughter and said, “You can’t be he, for we all know he died over 70 years ago.”

Soon a crowd gathered to see the cause of this merriment and when they were told that this man claimed to be Choni Hamagel, they too burst into laughter and began calling him a madman.

Enters The Beit Medrash

Disgusted, Choni Hamagel left them and soon found his way to the beis midrash, where all the sages of the generation were gathered discussing Torah.

Entering the assembly room quietly, he sat down to listen to their discourse. Soon a question arose and it was answered, “This law is as clear to us now as it used to be clear in the days of Choni Hamagel. In his days, whenever something difficult arose, they would ask him and he would clarify everything for them.”

Unable to restrain himself, he arose and announced for all to hear, “I am the Choni Hamagel whom you are now discussing!”

They looked at him in amazement and exclaimed, “He must be a madman. Choni has been dead for over 70 years. Be gone from here before we have you thrown out!”

Either A Friend Or Death

When Choni saw that they refused to believe him, he was broken-hearted and walked out, wandering through the streets for a long time. No one would listen to him or believe him. In anguish, he prayed to G-d, “L-rd of the Universe! Either give me a friend or give me death!” He then prayed to G-d for death. His prayer was granted and the pure soul of the saintly body of Choni Hamagel left and returned to its Creator.

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 Long Sleep”

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-long-sleep/2013/07/05/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: