web analytics
August 1, 2015 / 16 Av, 5775
At a Glance
Kidz
Sponsored Post


A Torah-Sharpened Mind

Tales of the Gaonim-logo

Rav Eliyahu Chaim Maisel of Lodz was a great scholar and also had a very sharp mind. Because of his own cleverness, he once saved an innocent Jew from an unjust punishment.

One day, a Yid from Lodz appeared at the home of Rav Eliyahu Chaim, pale and greatly upset.

“Rebbe,” he said, “I am in great trouble. I do not know how I can get out of it and I come to you to give me some kind of advice if you can.”

“What is the matter?” asked Rav Eliyahu Chaim. “Tell me what your troubles are and I will try to help you.”

“I was walking along a street last week and suddenly noticed a wallet lying at my feet. I bent down and picked it up. Opening it, I was astounded to find 1,000 gold pieces inside. There was no identification, and I took it home with me.

“The next day, I read in the paper that one of the Polish noblemen had lost a wallet and was offering a reward of 100 rubles to the man who found it and returned it.

“Naturally, I was overjoyed and I rushed over to the nobleman’s home.

“‘I have found the wallet you lost and here it is,’ I announced.

“The nobleman beamed with happiness and opened the wallet I gave him. I stood, waiting impatiently for him to give me the reward.

“I suddenly noticed, however, that his facial expression had changed and a cloud seemed to pass over him. My heart sank for I assumed he had begun to regret his decision to offer a reward. It was even worse than that, however.”

“The nobleman suddenly looked up and, with a face filled with fury, snarled: ‘Thief! All you Jews are thieves! There were 2,000 gold pieces in this wallet and you have only returned half of that. I demand that you give me the rest of the money!’

“My heart sank as I heard these words and I tried to calm him:

“‘No, it is not so, I am an honest and God-fearing Jew. Because of this I returned your lost wallet to you. If you do not wish to give me the reward I gladly waive all right to it. I only ask that you do not accuse me falsely.’

“But the nobleman was like a mad dog. He began to bark wildly at me, calling me all sorts of names and accusing me of stealing his money.

“‘Thief, son of a thief! You took a wallet with 2,000 gold pieces and have returned only 1,000. I will not rest till I take you to court and you get the punishment you so richly deserve.’

“In short,” the Jew wailed, “I have already received a summons from the court to appear and face trial. How can I ever hope to receive justice from this court against a Polish nobleman? Why was I punished in this manner when all I wanted was to perform a mitzvah?”

 

Not Selfless

Rav Eliyahu Chaim listened quietly to the entire story and saw that the man had told the truth.

“To begin with, the reason for your trouble is that you did not perform the mitzvah properly. You did not do it for its own sake but for the sake of a reward. This is wrong. However, I will try to help you. Do you have an attorney?”

“Yes.”

“Send him here tomorrow,” said the Gaon.

The next day, the attorney appeared at the home of Rav Eliyahu Chaim to discuss a strategy.

 

The Trial Begins

Within a few days, the day of the trial arrived.

The frightened Jew listened while the Polish nobleman stood before the court and said:

“I lost a wallet that contained 2,000 gold pieces. This Jew who sits there returned the wallet but with only 1,000 of the coins. I demand that the miserable, thieving Jew be punished for his crime.”

The Jew, naturally, protested his innocence, declaring, “I give you my solemn word that I have taken nothing from that wallet. There were only 1,000 gold pieces and I returned them all.”

 

The Climax

The prosecutor now took over and began to attack Jews as thieves while asking how the court could hope to take the word of a Jew against that of a Polish nobleman.

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 “A Torah-Sharpened Mind”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Matt Lee of the Associated Press at the State Department press briefing.
ObamaDeal Exposed: It’s not ‘Secret’ from Congress but not in Writing
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/tales-of-the-gaonim/a-torah-sharpened-mind/2013/11/01/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: