web analytics
April 17, 2014 / 17 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance
Kidz
Sponsored Post
Spa 1.2 Combining Modern Living in Traditional Jerusalem

A unique and prestigious residential project in now being built in Mekor Haim Street in Jerusalem.



The Return Of Shimon ben Shetach


Tales of the Gaonim-logo

Share Button

When the sages prevented Alexander Yannai, king of Yehuda, from becoming Kohen Gadol, he ordered that all the sages of Israel be killed. Many were; those not caught, fled. The greatest sage of them all, Rabi Shimon hen Shetach, was saved by his sister, Queen Shlomit Alexandra, who sheltered him in a secret hiding place.

After some time the king began to see the harshness of his decree. When he and the queen dined there was no sage present to entertain them with words of wisdom from the Torah.

“There is not even a person here to lead us in the blessing recited over the meal,” mused the king as he regretted his hasty action. At that moment a group of Parthian envoys arrived bearing gifts from their king. When King Yannai heard of them he was delighted.

“Bring them in and let them dine with me,” said the king.

The envoys bowed to the king and joined him at the table. During the meal, the Parthian envoys remarked, “O sire, on our previous visit one of your sages was present at court and we enjoyed his great wisdom. We profited a great deal from his profound knowledge. Where is he now? We would be greatly pleased to hear him again.”

Promises No Harm

Yannai told them what had happened to the sages and the envoys expressed great regret at the unfortunate occurrence. The queen noticed the expression of grief on the countenance of the king and taking advantage of this opportunity, she said, “O king, if you will give me your assurance that no harm will befall him, I shall produce Shimon ben Shetach.”

The king thereupon answered with great delight, “Yes, I give my solemn promise that no harm will befall the fugitive, only let him appear to please my guests.”

The Sage Returns

Queen Shlomit Alexandra sent word that her brother be brought to the palace immediately, and when he appeared before the king and his guests, he was given a very warm reception. The king invited him to take his seat between he and the queen and then remarked, “See what great honor I bestow upon you.”

“O sire,” replied Rabi Shimon, “it is not you who bestows honor upon me, but the Torah. For the wisdom that I offer grants me equal rank with kings. It was Ben Sira who said, ’It raises you and places you amongst the leaders and kings.’”

Turning to the queen, the king remarked, “He still has not learned to appreciate me. He talks in a haughty manner.” Then turning to Rabi Shimon he said, “Take a cup of wine and lead us saying grace after the meal.”

When the cup of wine was given to Shimon ben Shetach, he rose and said, “Blessed is He of whose sustenance Yannai and his companions have eaten.”

The king looked surprised and asked, “Is this the proper way to make a blessing? I have never heard it said this way before.”

“Do you expect me to say it otherwise if I have not eaten a morsel of food here?” replied Rabi Shimon ben Shetach.

Taking the hint, the king ordered his servants to bring out food and drink. When he finished the meal, Rabbi Shimon arose and said, “Let us now bless the Almighty on the wonderful food which He has provided us with!”

The Deep Impression

The Parthian envoys then expressed their wish that the sage discuss with them some topics from the Torah. Rabi Shimon agreed and so deep was the impression he made upon them that when they were about to leave, they said, “Of all the great things we saw and heard in this wonderful city of Jerusalem, nothing made such a deep impression on our minds as the wise words of the great teacher, Shimon ben Shetach.”

After that the king appointed Rabi Shimon to the position of head of the Sanhedrin.

Changing the Sanhedrin

Shimon ben Shetach was grieved to see that the king had replaced all the sages of old with Sadducees, who did not follow in the ways of Chazal. Inasmuch as he couldn’t tell the king to discharge them, he decided to find a way to replace them.

Share Button

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.

No Responses to “The Return Of Shimon ben Shetach”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Arab rioters hurl objects at Israeli security personnel who use pepper spray to quell the violence emanating from the Al Aqsa mosque on the Temple Mount.
Arab Violence Closes Temple Mount to Visitors Again
Latest Kidz Stories
Tales-of-The-Midrash-logo

“You speak foolishly, daughter, how is it possible for a man who has not eaten for 10 years to live?”

Tales of the Gaonim-logo

With enthusiasm, zemiros that had been purposefully collected for the evening were chanted.

Tales of the Gaonim-logo

Bnei Yisrael marched out of Mitzrayim with a mighty hand under their great leader Moshe. This was not, however, their first attempt to escape from Mitzrayim and return to the land that G-d had promised their fathers.

Tales of the Gaonim-logo

Rabi Pinchas’ piety and honesty were known far and wide. He would often say, “Even though our Sages (Yevamot 65b) declared that to preserve the peace, a person may change his words to fit the situation, I will never utter a false word regardless of the consequences.” If he heard that one of his followers had uttered a false word, he would expel him from his presence.

When Bnei Yisrael returned to their homeland they were a poor and weak group of people. Because of the great number of enemies and wild animals that had inhabited the land during their exile, they huddled together in a few areas, like Yerushalayim, in order to find protection.

But not everyone is destined to taste of the fruit of this world and to enjoy its vintage. Among the inhabitants of this town lived a poor man, Nachumka.

In the midst of his merrymaking, the king ordered his servants to bring out the golden vessels that were taken from the Beit HaMikdash by his father Nevuchadnezzar. The king and his men drank from them and praised the gods of gold and silver.

The Jewish people are hardly strangers to persecution and tyranny. When we hear of the complaints of other peoples, we smile bitterly and wonder: What do they know of persecution? What do they know of tragedy and bitterness? We are a people who have experienced oppression for centuries and have drunk deeply of the bitter cup of woe.

Although Daniel was the chief minister in Bavel, he could not eradicate the custom practiced in many provinces of worshipping idols. In the capital city there was a statue of Baal and more and more people began to worship it. Even the king was beginning to believe in its power.

There was once a tzaddik from Poland, Reb Velveli, who decided to settle in Eretz Yisrael. The land was poor and inhabited by very few people, but he and his wife had such love for the land that they were willing to suffer privation and hunger just to be one of its citizens.

Through the influence of Daniel, one of Nevuchadnezar’s ministers, his three companions, Chananiah, Mishael and Azariah were appointed as governors over various provinces in Bavel.

The stories concerning Rav Naftali of Ropshitz are quite numerous and reveal his sharp biting wit. Rav Naftali was often persecuted and sneered at by misnagdim but the sharp mind with which he was blessed always served him in good stead in finding proper answers.

In the third year of the reign of Yehoyakim, melech Yehuda, Nevuchadnezzar, melech Bavel, lay siege to Yerushalayim and conquered it. He took many treasures from the Beis HaMikdash back with him to the land of Shinar.

Reb Moshe Chaim Ephraim, the grandson of the Baal Shem Tov, was a deeply learned man who took his sources and admonitions from the Torah.

In the city of Antioch there lived a man of remarkable generosity by the name of Aba Yehudah. He was a man who gave to all, whenever there was a need. Rabi Yehoshua and several other rabbanim arrived in the city one day on an urgent mission to collect money for the unfortunate needy. They knew that Aba Yehudah always gave a generous contribution so they looked forward to seeing him.

From the remarkable Beis Midrash in the town of Brodi came forth a dazzling number of Talmudic chachamim (scholars), many of whom went forth to greatness in the annals of Israel. One of them was Rav Chaim Tzanzer.

More Articles from Rabbi Sholom Klass
Tales-of-The-Midrash-logo

“You speak foolishly, daughter, how is it possible for a man who has not eaten for 10 years to live?”

Tales of the Gaonim-logo

With enthusiasm, zemiros that had been purposefully collected for the evening were chanted.

Bnei Yisrael marched out of Mitzrayim with a mighty hand under their great leader Moshe. This was not, however, their first attempt to escape from Mitzrayim and return to the land that G-d had promised their fathers.

Rabi Pinchas’ piety and honesty were known far and wide. He would often say, “Even though our Sages (Yevamot 65b) declared that to preserve the peace, a person may change his words to fit the situation, I will never utter a false word regardless of the consequences.” If he heard that one of his followers had uttered a false word, he would expel him from his presence.

When Bnei Yisrael returned to their homeland they were a poor and weak group of people. Because of the great number of enemies and wild animals that had inhabited the land during their exile, they huddled together in a few areas, like Yerushalayim, in order to find protection.

But not everyone is destined to taste of the fruit of this world and to enjoy its vintage. Among the inhabitants of this town lived a poor man, Nachumka.

In the midst of his merrymaking, the king ordered his servants to bring out the golden vessels that were taken from the Beit HaMikdash by his father Nevuchadnezzar. The king and his men drank from them and praised the gods of gold and silver.

The Jewish people are hardly strangers to persecution and tyranny. When we hear of the complaints of other peoples, we smile bitterly and wonder: What do they know of persecution? What do they know of tragedy and bitterness? We are a people who have experienced oppression for centuries and have drunk deeply of the bitter cup of woe.

    Latest Poll

    Now that Kerry's "Peace Talks" are apparently over, are you...?







    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/kidz/tales-of-the-gaonim/the-return-of-shimon-ben-shetach-2/2012/12/28/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: