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April 20, 2014 / 20 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘Elazar Kohen Gadol’

The Translation Of The Torah (Continued from last week)

Friday, January 6th, 2012

The King Questions The Sages

Ptolemy, King of Egypt, had requested of Elazar Kohen Gadol, that he send sages to his country to translate the Torah. Elazar complied by sending 72 sages. They were wined and dined and then the king put to them 72 questions, to test their wisdom.

The first question the king asked was, “What shall a king do to make his rule successful so that he can reign all of his life in peace and happiness?”

The first sage replied, “He should serve G-d and walk in the path of righteousness, reward the good and punish the wicked.”

The second question was, “What shall a person do to succeed in life?”

They answered, “A person must realize that G-d knows all of his intentions and actions. He can hide nothing from Him. Therefore, if he gives charity, helps the poor and is kind to his fellowman, G-d is sure to reward him with success.”

“How can a person increase his goodness and happiness?”

“Let all of his efforts be turned towards helping his fellowman.”

“How shall a ruler punish those who slander him?”

“By being merciful and patient with them.”

“How can a king triumph over his enemies?”

“By having a powerful army ready and being prepared to do battle at a moment’s notice. But he should be discreet in using the army. He should carry a big stick but speak softly.”

“What is the best thing for us in this life?”

“We must realize that G-d is supreme over all creations and He controls the destinies of all mankind. Therefore, we should pray to Him every day to make our life better.”

“What should a man do when misfortune comes upon him?”

“He should pray to G-d to give him strength to endure the trouble. He should console himself with his reflection that there isn’t a man on earth who doesn’t meet with misfortune.”

More Questions

The king continued to question the sages. “When do we reveal our true strength of character?”

“In misfortune,” was the reply.

The king and all the wise men of the court were impressed with the Jewish sages. “Truly the wisdom of G-d resides in their hearts,” they said. “Lucky are the people who follow in their Torah, they will be blessed all their days.”

The king blessed the sages and provided lodging for them in his palace. “Tomorrow, I have more questions to ask,” he said.

The Second Day

On the second day, the king made a grand feast and he again began questioning the sages.

“How can we always remain truthful?” the king asked.

“We must begin to realize how disgraceful lying is.”

“What should a person always think about?”

“The goodness of G-d and His kind bounty to all of His creations.”

“How can a man develop patience?”

“He must reflect that the life of a man is full of suffering.”

“What should a king avoid?”

“He should avoid graft and only associate with the righteous.”

“What is the most difficult thing for a king?”

“To master himself.”

“How can we silence those who slander us?”

“By doing good.”

“How can we acquire a good name?”

“By dealing kindly with one’s fellowmen.”

“To whom shall we do good?”

“First to our parents, our family, our friends and then to fellowmen.”

The King Is Overawed By The Sages

As the king continued to question the sages he became more overawed by their brilliance.

“Truly the voice of G-d speaks through them,” he said.

“How can one drive away a care?” the king asked.

“You must look for social intercourse with people,” was the reply.

“How can one guard oneself against anger?”

“By reflecting on the consequences.”

“How can a stranger gain respect?”

“By being modest and upright.”

“Which of our works endures forever?”

“The works of righteousness.”

The king continued questioning the Jewish sages for seven days. Every sage had his chance to answer a question. At the conclusion of the questioning, the king arose from his throne and thanked the wise men of Israel for their sagacious advice. He gave each sage three measures of gold and he assigned to each a servant to wait upon him.

Placed In Separate Houses

The following day the king ordered his servant Aristeas to take them to an island outside the city and lodge each of them in a separate house.

When this was done, the king requested the wise men to begin their translation of the Torah. He provided them with food and drink and he locked the doors behind him.

G-d placed the same thoughts in the mind of each of the sages and they wrote the same explanations. After 72 days they sent for the king and they gave him their scrolls bearing the translation of the Torah. He compared them all and he saw that they agreed in every way. The king then ordered his carpenters to build an ark and he placed the scrolls in it, to preserve them for future generations.

The Translation Of The Torah

Monday, January 2nd, 2012

King Ptolemy of Egypt had heard that the Jews possessed the Torah, the five books of Moshe, which contained much wisdom and excellent laws. He desired to have this Torah translated into Greek so that he, too, might learn its contents.

He decided to prepare a wonderful gift for the Jews. He ordered his artisans to fashion: a table of gold, two gold vases, two silver ones and two golden cups. He had exquisite figures carved upon them and had them studded with 5,000 gems of various sizes. The king personally supervised the construction and when it was finished he was very pleased.

The king placed these presents in a chest and he wrote a sealed letter to Elazar Kohen Gadol, which he entrusted to the hands of his loyal servant, Aristeas. The servant arrived in Yerushalayim and delivered to Elazar the presents and the letter, which read as follows: “Ptolemy, King of Egypt, sends to Elazar Kohen Gadol peace! “As I have heard that you Jews possess an excellent law, I therefore beg of you to send me 72 of your wise men who understand the Torah in order that they may translate it for me into the Greek language. In gratitude for your friendly consideration, please accept the gifts that I am sending you with my servant Aristeas.”

The Priest Accepts

When the Kohen Gadol received the letter and presents from Aristeas, he was elated and rejoiced exceedingly. He said to the king’s servant, “I beg of you, please remain here for several days while I choose the 72 wise men who will return with you to Egypt.”

Aristeas remained in Yerushalayim viewing the sights including the avodah in the Beis Hamikdash. He was so impressed that he wrote a long letter to the king describing the scenes. He described the long gowns that the kohanim wore, which covered their bodies down to the ankles. He described the mizbayach upon which the kohanim ascended to offer korbanos, the pure marble that covered the floors and the sparkling spring waters that washed the floors continuously.

Part of the letter read as follows: “The sincerity and zeal of the priests is indescribable. Not a word was spoken as they did their work, realizing that it was holy work. I was privileged to see Elazar Kohen Gadol. His robe was magnificent; its hem was ringed with golden bells that chimed beautiful melodies as he walked. On his chest was the plaque of law, studded with 12 scintillating diamonds encased in solid gold. I was overawed by its majesty and beauty. From there I viewed the city, its walls and fortifications. In every street I found gardens and vineyards and thousands of sheep and cattle roaming the fields. Israel is truly a prosperous nation and a blessed people, dwelling in the protection of their G-d. Lucky are the people who possess such a G-d.”

The Sages Are Chosen

Elazar Kohen Gadol chose 72 of the sages of Yerushalayim and he presented them to the king’s servant and said to him: “Treat the men with respect and grant them whatever they may request of you. After they are through with their translation, let the king not detain them even one day.”

Elazar continued, “If I did not consider the blessings that the translation of the holy Torah can bring to all humanity, I would not permit these Sages to depart from here. My soul is entwined with theirs and only with the greatest of reluctance do we part from each other.”

Greeted By The King

Aristeas and the sages arrived in Alexandria, Egypt. The king and a large multitude of people turned out to greet them. A parade was held in their honor and when they arrived in the king’s palace the king greeted them and gave them his blessing.

“Have you brought the Torah scroll with you?” the king asked.

“Here it is,” they answered.

They took out the sefer Torah that was encased in a golden mantel and was inscribed in golden letters. As they unrolled the parchment, the king noted the beautiful penmanship and the fine texture of the parchment as each part was sewn to each other. He was impressed and awed as he regarded it. He blessed the 72 sages and also the Kohen Gadol and he bowed before them seven times. He clasped the hands of each sage and said: “Today is the happiest day of my life. I will not forget it.”

The Banquet

The king then ordered a magnificent feast to be held in honor of the sages. He invited all the ministers, officials and leaders of the country to participate in the festivities. Because they were strangers the Jewish sages sat apart, for that was the custom in Egypt.

Before the banquet began, one of the sages arose and offered the following prayer:

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/kidz/midrash-stories/the-translation-of-the-torah/2012/01/02/

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