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February 27, 2015 / 8 Adar , 5775
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A Jester Saved The Jews


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“That we will do,” they promised him. “We will not ask how you intend to accomplish your mission, for we rely on your cunning to devise a way. May G-d be with you.”

The Minister Arrives

A few days later, the minister arrived. The general arranged a huge parade for him and at its conclusion there was a banquet. Officials from all over the city came to meet the prime minister and present him with petitions for the queen.

When the time came to present the petitions, a large line formed and as each person was presented to the minister, he gave him a letter or said a few words which were marked down as a record for Her Royal Highness.

At the end of the line appeared a farmer, dressed in the clothes of his trade. He, too, presented himself before the minister.

“What is your request?” asked the minister, while the general and other officials crowded around him.

The farmer trembled momentarily, moved back and bowed low to the minister. “I have a letter to give to Your Honor,” he replied.

With that, he gave the minister a sealed envelope. The minister opened the envelope and looked at it with amazement.

“Why, this is only a blank piece of paper!” he exclaimed. “It contains no writing whatsoever.”

The farmer took the paper, looked at it and cried aloud, “Woe is me! This letter wanted privacy, and now the letter flew away. If Your Honor will have patience I will look for the words and put them back onto the sheet.”

With that, he fell on his knees and began to search the floor. Everyone crowded around him watching the spectacle. After a while, he rose and began to cry, “Your Honor,” he wailed, “what can I now tell the people who sent me? All is lost. Apparently the words were too shy when they saw such a crowd and they disappeared.”

The general looked at the man and began to laugh. “Must be some lunatic,” he mused to himself.

Seeks Privacy

But the minister caught the farmer’s eye and then announced in an authoritative voice: “Come with me to my private chamber!”

Leaving everyone standing in the main hall, the minister led the farmer to a private room. “I see through your act,” the minister said. “I realize you wanted privacy. Now tell me what it is all about?”

“May you be blessed,” answered the farmer. “You are as brilliant as they say. I am a Jew, and the Jewish community of this town has sent me. The general, who is an enemy of the Jews, would not permit us to come see you.” The he gave him another letter, which listed all the evils that the general had done to them.

“I was wondering why no Jews appeared to welcome me at this reception,” said the Minister. “When I questioned the general about this, he told me that the Jews were too busy cheating and stealing money to bother to come here.”

The farmer, who was Nachumka, then told the minister how the Jews were being used by the general to fill his own coffers. How he imposed taxes, which were never turned over to the queen’s treasury, presenting the minister with documented evidence.

The minister took all the letters and evidence and said, “You are a wise person to see me privately, for the general would have surely killed you if he saw what you are giving me. Be assured that this will receive speedy action.”

The following morning the minister departed. A few days later the general was summoned to the Royal Palace, exiled and placed in charge of a small village in Siberia.

The Jews of that city celebrated the event and blessed G-d for saving them from the evil clutches of another Haman. Every Jew in Russia revered the name of Nachumka the Jester and if asked, could explain why a jester has a high place in Gan Eden.

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“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.”

Gaonim-Midrash-logo-NEW

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.

He walked out of the room, making sure to leave the door ajar so that the two litigants could hear his voice.

Don’t you know Avraham, the famous dry goods merchant, who lives near the lake in a big mansion?

“What could I do? Your wife is hard of hearing,” whispered the poor woman barely able to talk.

“I would appreciate if you could give me some pointers on how to improve my wine,” said the wine merchant eagerly.

“And what was your grandfather’s name?” asked the visitor. “The same as my name,” replied the child.

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