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.”
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The man has been found guilty and his soul is bitter because of it.
Now I know why Hashem punished us with the confiscation of our shul.
But the words would penetrate their hearts and each would say to himself: “But I, too, am doing this terrible thing.” In this way Reb Elimelech would inspire the people to teshuvah.
“I will tell you,” replied the rav. “I am very puzzled at why you suddenly desire to honor me and have me as your guest. What quality do you find in me that is new and worthy of merit?
“I wanted you to have a taste of the cold,” answered Rav Chaim. “This way, you too can feel the intense cold and realize the suffering of this man and his wife, who are now residing in a bitterly cold house.”
“Don’t worry,” said the king, “what could it be worth, two or three talents of gold? I’ll give you ten talents of gold, so you can forget about it.”
Shmuel HaKatan shook his head and said: “No, what happened here today is a sign not of great love. On the contrary, it is a bad omen.”
The arguments, however, could never appease his wife and one Thursday she came to him for money to purchase food for Shabbos.