web analytics
July 28, 2015 / 12 Av, 5775
At a Glance
Kidz
Sponsored Post


The Translation Of The Torah


Tales-of-The-Midrash-logo

King Ptolemy of Egypt had heard that the Jews possessed the Torah, the five books of Moshe, which contained much wisdom and excellent laws. He desired to have this Torah translated into Greek so that he, too, might learn its contents.

He decided to prepare a wonderful gift for the Jews. He ordered his artisans to fashion: a table of gold, two gold vases, two silver ones and two golden cups. He had exquisite figures carved upon them and had them studded with 5,000 gems of various sizes. The king personally supervised the construction and when it was finished he was very pleased.

The king placed these presents in a chest and he wrote a sealed letter to Elazar Kohen Gadol, which he entrusted to the hands of his loyal servant, Aristeas. The servant arrived in Yerushalayim and delivered to Elazar the presents and the letter, which read as follows: “Ptolemy, King of Egypt, sends to Elazar Kohen Gadol peace! “As I have heard that you Jews possess an excellent law, I therefore beg of you to send me 72 of your wise men who understand the Torah in order that they may translate it for me into the Greek language. In gratitude for your friendly consideration, please accept the gifts that I am sending you with my servant Aristeas.”

The Priest Accepts

When the Kohen Gadol received the letter and presents from Aristeas, he was elated and rejoiced exceedingly. He said to the king’s servant, “I beg of you, please remain here for several days while I choose the 72 wise men who will return with you to Egypt.”

Aristeas remained in Yerushalayim viewing the sights including the avodah in the Beis Hamikdash. He was so impressed that he wrote a long letter to the king describing the scenes. He described the long gowns that the kohanim wore, which covered their bodies down to the ankles. He described the mizbayach upon which the kohanim ascended to offer korbanos, the pure marble that covered the floors and the sparkling spring waters that washed the floors continuously.

Part of the letter read as follows: “The sincerity and zeal of the priests is indescribable. Not a word was spoken as they did their work, realizing that it was holy work. I was privileged to see Elazar Kohen Gadol. His robe was magnificent; its hem was ringed with golden bells that chimed beautiful melodies as he walked. On his chest was the plaque of law, studded with 12 scintillating diamonds encased in solid gold. I was overawed by its majesty and beauty. From there I viewed the city, its walls and fortifications. In every street I found gardens and vineyards and thousands of sheep and cattle roaming the fields. Israel is truly a prosperous nation and a blessed people, dwelling in the protection of their G-d. Lucky are the people who possess such a G-d.”

The Sages Are Chosen

Elazar Kohen Gadol chose 72 of the sages of Yerushalayim and he presented them to the king’s servant and said to him: “Treat the men with respect and grant them whatever they may request of you. After they are through with their translation, let the king not detain them even one day.”

Elazar continued, “If I did not consider the blessings that the translation of the holy Torah can bring to all humanity, I would not permit these Sages to depart from here. My soul is entwined with theirs and only with the greatest of reluctance do we part from each other.”

Greeted By The King

Aristeas and the sages arrived in Alexandria, Egypt. The king and a large multitude of people turned out to greet them. A parade was held in their honor and when they arrived in the king’s palace the king greeted them and gave them his blessing.

“Have you brought the Torah scroll with you?” the king asked.

“Here it is,” they answered.

They took out the sefer Torah that was encased in a golden mantel and was inscribed in golden letters. As they unrolled the parchment, the king noted the beautiful penmanship and the fine texture of the parchment as each part was sewn to each other. He was impressed and awed as he regarded it. He blessed the 72 sages and also the Kohen Gadol and he bowed before them seven times. He clasped the hands of each sage and said: “Today is the happiest day of my life. I will not forget it.”

The Banquet

The king then ordered a magnificent feast to be held in honor of the sages. He invited all the ministers, officials and leaders of the country to participate in the festivities. Because they were strangers the Jewish sages sat apart, for that was the custom in Egypt.

Before the banquet began, one of the sages arose and offered the following prayer:

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.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “The Translation Of The Torah”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Rocks hurled by rioting Arabs on the Temple Mount.
Israeli Arab MKs Protest ‘Police Brutality’ on Temple Mount
Latest Kidz Stories
Gaonim-Midrash-logo-NEW

Ptolemy, King of Egypt, had requested that 72 sages be sent to his country to translate the Torah. They were wined and dined and then the king put to them 72 questions, to test their wisdom. The Second Day On the second day, the king made a grand feast and he again began questioning the […]

Gaonim-Midrash-logo-NEW

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?”

Gaonim-Midrash-logo-NEW

Aristeas remained in Jerusalem viewing the sights. He was honored by being permitted to view the kohanim doing the avodah in the Beis HaMikdash.

Gaonim-Midrash-logo-NEW

“Greetings to you,” they called out, “will you be kind enough to give us a blessing?”

“In Chad Gadya we find that the shochet kills the ox and is immediately killed in turn by the Malach HaMaves.

His fifth stage of life starts when he is 18 years of age. He is then compared to a mule.

To his amazement and disappointment, however, David HaMelech showed not the slightest indication of stopping for even a moment.

When his students saw the mule, they decided to clean it and smooth it for their teacher.

Rav Yosef Shmuel looked at the guests and said, “I am very sorry, but I am hired to do the holy work of teaching children Torah. I am not allowed to waste even a moment from this work. This evening, when I have finished, I will be glad to see you and talk with you.”

Finally, his wife came in with the dinner that she had hurriedly prepared and which was not comparable to the wonderful repast she had given away.

The great giant of his time, the Vilna Gaon, once said that the Shaagas Aryeh had the entire Talmud and its commentators at his fingertips and that he could relate the gist of all of them and their sources in one hour.

As for myself, I can only answer that the yetzer hara has persuaded me to take the position because of the honor.

“It must be that beggar,” he exclaimed. “He probably stole my cane.”

“If, however, he rules the other way – that something is not kosher when in reality it is kosher – and thus robs a poor man of his money, this is a far more serious thing.

“Come now, I insist. Tell me what errand of mercy you are on so that I too may have a share in the mitzvah.”

One of the most remarkable men in chassidic lore was Rav Yaakov Yitzchak Horowitz, known as the Chozeh of Lublin. Rav Yaakov Yitzchak was responsible for chassidus capturing the hearts of the vast majority of Polish Jewry. He was not only a great scholar but also possessed humility and modesty, traits that drew many other […]

More Articles from Rabbi Sholom Klass
Gaonim-Midrash-logo-NEW

Ptolemy, King of Egypt, had requested that 72 sages be sent to his country to translate the Torah. They were wined and dined and then the king put to them 72 questions, to test their wisdom. The Second Day On the second day, the king made a grand feast and he again began questioning the […]

Gaonim-Midrash-logo-NEW

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?”

Aristeas remained in Jerusalem viewing the sights. He was honored by being permitted to view the kohanim doing the avodah in the Beis HaMikdash.

“In Chad Gadya we find that the shochet kills the ox and is immediately killed in turn by the Malach HaMaves.

His fifth stage of life starts when he is 18 years of age. He is then compared to a mule.

To his amazement and disappointment, however, David HaMelech showed not the slightest indication of stopping for even a moment.

When his students saw the mule, they decided to clean it and smooth it for their teacher.

Rav Yosef Shmuel looked at the guests and said, “I am very sorry, but I am hired to do the holy work of teaching children Torah. I am not allowed to waste even a moment from this work. This evening, when I have finished, I will be glad to see you and talk with you.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/kidz/midrash-stories/the-translation-of-the-torah/2012/01/02/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: