web analytics
April 26, 2015 / 7 Iyar, 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
Children are asleep at last as adults in the Chabad House continue to deal with the crisis in Nepal.
Chabad Co-Emissary in Nepal Hopes for ‘Only Good News’ in Video
Latest Kidz Stories
Gaonim-Midrash-logo-NEW

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

Gaonim-Midrash-logo-NEW

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 […]

Gaonim-Midrash-logo-NEW

The story of the Bnei Yisrael in the land of Mitzrayim is a tale that has become tragically repetitive in the history of our people. It is the story of a land which allows Jews to enter, devote their talents and energies to building that land and making it strong, only to have the inhabitants […]

Gaonim-Midrash-logo-NEW

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.

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.

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

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

Gaonim-Midrash-logo-NEW

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 […]

The story of the Bnei Yisrael in the land of Mitzrayim is a tale that has become tragically repetitive in the history of our people. It is the story of a land which allows Jews to enter, devote their talents and energies to building that land and making it strong, only to have the inhabitants […]

The man has been found guilty and his soul is bitter because of it.

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.”

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: