Just as the Rambam planned, he escaped unharmed from the deadly effects of the poison. The Sultan and the court were amazed at this miracle and he was loudly applauded. Now it was the Rambam’s chance to revenge himself upon his enemies. He prepared a strong poison and his enemies were forced to swallow it. Immediately the deadly poison took effect and 10 ministers and physicians died.
The fame of the Rambam spread to the four corners of the world and he was revered and honored throughout the land.
The Rambam’s Demise
At the age of 70, this great leader in Israel, known as the great eagle, from whose fount glowed forth the rays of wisdom and knowledge, died.
All the Jews of Egypt where the Rambam lived declared a three-day period of mourning and let it be known that the year 1240 was to be known as the year of misery. On the seventh day after his petira, news reached Alexandria and on the eighth day it reached Yerushalayim. In Yerushalayim a great day of mourning was called, a day of fasting and prayer.
After many days, the aron of the Rambam was carried from Egypt to Israel. On the way a band of marauders descended on the group and out of fear the convoy dispersed. The band consisted of thirty thieves who approached the coffin of the Rambam and tried to lift it. But to their chagrin they couldn’t budge it. Nor could they open it up. Even though they made a concentrated effort the coffin remained unmoved.
They soon realized that the occupant of the coffin was a holy man and they called back the Jews and apologized for their behavior. They formed a convoy and accompanied the coffin to to Tiverya where the Rambam was buried alongside of the sages, Rabi Yochanan and Rabi Kahana. The band of thieves repented and they became pious people, known as the Baal Tishivniks.