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“Why do you carry two branches?” they asked.

“In honor of Shabbos,” was the answer.


“Wouldn’t one branch have been sufficient,” they asked.

“One branch represents the commandment of zachor, remember the Sabbath, and the other branch represents the commandment of shamor, observe the commandment,” he answered.

“See how our people love the mitzvos of the Torah!” said Rabi Shimon to his son. The two were then filled with contentment.

Rabi Pinchus ben Ya’ir, son-in-law of Rabi Shimon, heard of their arrival and rushed to greet them. He bathed them and administered to them. Seeing the sores on Rabi Shimon’s skin, tears streamed from his eyes.

“Woe is to me that I see you in such a state,” he cried out.

“On the contrary,” answered Rabi Shimon, “be happy that you see me this way, for if I were not in such a state you would not have found me so learned.” Originally, when Rabi Pinchus asked a question, Rabi Shimon would give him 13 answers, whereas now when Rabi Pinchus asked a question, Rabi Shimon bar Yochai would give him 24 answers.

Rabi Shimon went out into the street and saw Yehuda ben Garim. “This man is still in the world!” he exclaimed. He cast his eyes upon his and turned him into a heap of bones.


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