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December 21, 2014 / 29 Kislev, 5775
 
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The Translation Of The Torah (Continued from last week)


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The King Questions The Sages

Ptolemy, King of Egypt, had requested of Elazar Kohen Gadol, that he send sages to his country to translate the Torah. Elazar complied by sending 72 sages. They were wined and dined and then the king put to them 72 questions, to test their wisdom.

The first question the king asked was, “What shall a king do to make his rule successful so that he can reign all of his life in peace and happiness?”

The first sage replied, “He should serve G-d and walk in the path of righteousness, reward the good and punish the wicked.”

The second question was, “What shall a person do to succeed in life?”

They answered, “A person must realize that G-d knows all of his intentions and actions. He can hide nothing from Him. Therefore, if he gives charity, helps the poor and is kind to his fellowman, G-d is sure to reward him with success.”

“How can a person increase his goodness and happiness?”

“Let all of his efforts be turned towards helping his fellowman.”

“How shall a ruler punish those who slander him?”

“By being merciful and patient with them.”

“How can a king triumph over his enemies?”

“By having a powerful army ready and being prepared to do battle at a moment’s notice. But he should be discreet in using the army. He should carry a big stick but speak softly.”

“What is the best thing for us in this life?”

“We must realize that G-d is supreme over all creations and He controls the destinies of all mankind. Therefore, we should pray to Him every day to make our life better.”

“What should a man do when misfortune comes upon him?”

“He should pray to G-d to give him strength to endure the trouble. He should console himself with his reflection that there isn’t a man on earth who doesn’t meet with misfortune.”

More Questions

The king continued to question the sages. “When do we reveal our true strength of character?”

“In misfortune,” was the reply.

The king and all the wise men of the court were impressed with the Jewish sages. “Truly the wisdom of G-d resides in their hearts,” they said. “Lucky are the people who follow in their Torah, they will be blessed all their days.”

The king blessed the sages and provided lodging for them in his palace. “Tomorrow, I have more questions to ask,” he said.

The Second Day

On the second day, the king made a grand feast and he again began questioning the sages.

“How can we always remain truthful?” the king asked.

“We must begin to realize how disgraceful lying is.”

“What should a person always think about?”

“The goodness of G-d and His kind bounty to all of His creations.”

“How can a man develop patience?”

“He must reflect that the life of a man is full of suffering.”

“What should a king avoid?”

“He should avoid graft and only associate with the righteous.”

“What is the most difficult thing for a king?”

“To master himself.”

“How can we silence those who slander us?”

“By doing good.”

“How can we acquire a good name?”

“By dealing kindly with one’s fellowmen.”

“To whom shall we do good?”

“First to our parents, our family, our friends and then to fellowmen.”

The King Is Overawed By The Sages

As the king continued to question the sages he became more overawed by their brilliance.

“Truly the voice of G-d speaks through them,” he said.

“How can one drive away a care?” the king asked.

“You must look for social intercourse with people,” was the reply.

“How can one guard oneself against anger?”

“By reflecting on the consequences.”

“How can a stranger gain respect?”

“By being modest and upright.”

“Which of our works endures forever?”

“The works of righteousness.”

The king continued questioning the Jewish sages for seven days. Every sage had his chance to answer a question. At the conclusion of the questioning, the king arose from his throne and thanked the wise men of Israel for their sagacious advice. He gave each sage three measures of gold and he assigned to each a servant to wait upon him.

Placed In Separate Houses

The following day the king ordered his servant Aristeas to take them to an island outside the city and lodge each of them in a separate house.

When this was done, the king requested the wise men to begin their translation of the Torah. He provided them with food and drink and he locked the doors behind him.

G-d placed the same thoughts in the mind of each of the sages and they wrote the same explanations. After 72 days they sent for the king and they gave him their scrolls bearing the translation of the Torah. He compared them all and he saw that they agreed in every way. The king then ordered his carpenters to build an ark and he placed the scrolls in it, to preserve them for future generations.

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“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
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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.

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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