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March 6, 2015 / 15 Adar , 5775
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The Rambam


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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.

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“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.”

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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.”

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.

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