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January 21, 2017 / 23 Tevet, 5777
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The Long Sleep

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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.

Rabbi Sholom Klass

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