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The disciple was astounded. “Is it possible that I heard right? Are you accusing Shimon ben Shetach, the most pious and most educated of our generation, of doing wrong and deserving such a horrible punishment? Of what crime is he guilty?”

The Sin Of The Sage

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The dead sage replied, “In Ashkelon there lives 80 witches. They mislead the people with their enchantments and cause them to sin. They induce ignorant people to worship idols and other abominations that G-d despises. Rabi Shimon ben Shetach is well aware of their actions and yet he makes no effort to remove them.”

The sage continued, “When you wake in the morning, go to the house of Rabi Shimon and say the following, ‘Before you became the president of the Sanhedrin you made a vow that if you were ever elected to this high office you would remove the witches from the face of the earth. Now G-d has fulfilled your wish, but you have failed to fulfill your vow. Last night my teacher appeared to me in a dream and told me that for your neglect you would descend to Gihenom!’”

“But Rabi Shimon will not believe me,” replied the frightened disciple.

“Give him this sign to convince him that you speak the truth,” said the sage. “Place your hand on his right eye, and it will shoot out of its place. Then put your hand on the empty socket and it will set back into its place.”

(To be continued)

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