Posted on June 21st, 2012 by Rabbi
There once was a simple man of 70 years old who lived by his faith. He was very wealthy, but sadly was not blessed with a son. Every day he used to go to the synagogue as the children came out, he would embrace them and kiss them and say to them, “children, tell me what holy words you learned today.” Each and every one of them would recite what they had studied. Then he would bless them and say to them, “happy are you and happy are your fathers who merited sons to engage in Torah.” But in his heart he said, “alas for the one who has no son! What pleasure do I have in all of my property?” So he went and gave away all of his properties amongst the students of the sages, saying, “maybe I may yet have a share of the next world together with them.” And the mercies of the Holy One, blessed be He revolved so that the old man was blessed with a son.
When the child was five years old, he put him right on his shoulders and brought him to the house of study, where he said to the teacher, “with which book will you begin to teach my son?” “With the book of Leviticus,” said the teacher. But the boy’s father said to him, “start my son with the book of Genesis, for does not the ‘L-rd say, If not for My covenant of day and night, I would not have established the fixed order of heaven and earth (Jeremiah 33:25) and all that is, is contained in the Book of Genesis as it is taught, It’s measure is longer than the earth, and wider than the sea. (Job 11:9)
So day by day he rode him on his shoulders to the house of study. “How long are you going to tire yourself by carrying me on your shoulders?” Asked the young boy. “Let me be, for I know the way and I can go there alone.” “Go, my son, as you wish,” said his father.
It came about one day that one of the kings servants met him when he was alone and saw that he was very good-looking and dressed in fine clothes. So the servant stole him and took him away to the capital city. In the evening his father saw that his son had not returned, so he went to the teacher and asked, “where’s my son whom I sent to you?” “I do not know, for he did not come to study today.” Said teacher. When the father heard this he wailed and wept and cried to all, “have you seen a handsome boy, looking like this?” “We have not seen him,” the townspeople would say. When his father and mother heard this they wept and cried and wore sackcloth and ashes until their weeping reach the highest heavens.
The mercies of the Holy One, blessed be He were touched, and he sent a terrible sickness upon the king by who servant the boy was caught. And the king ordered that a book of remedies should be brought to him. And they brought it, but the angel Gabriel came and replaced it with the book of Genesis. The Kings sages opened it but could not read the book at all, and his servants said to him, “we believe that it must be a Jewish book.” They looked for a Jewish person to read it, but could not find any then the king’s servant said, “my lord king when I went to the Jewish village I stole a Jewish child from there. Maybe he can read the book.” “Go and fetch him to me immediately,” said the king. So he went and brought the boy before the king.
“My son, if you know how to read this book, then happy are you with happy are we.” Said the king. The boy saw the book, he cried out and wept and flung himself to the ground. “Have no fear of me, said the king. The boy answered, “I do not fear you but I was the only child of my father and mother, then the Holy One, blessed be He gave me to them in their old age, when they were 70 years old. This is the very book that my father taught me, so that is why I wept.” “Can you read it?” Asked the king. So he began reciting the whole of the first chapter. “And can you explain it?” Asked the king. Then the Holy One, blessed be He gave him understanding and knowledge to interpret the whole passage. When the king heard the wisdom and understanding, and how the Holy One, blessed be He created his world, he confessed and gave thanks to the Creator of all. Thereupon he was healed and sat up on his bed and said blessed is the L-rd who sent me healing by this lad.”
And the king said to him, “my son, ask what you want me to give you.” The boy answered, “my lord king, I ask you only to restore me to my mother my father.” So the king immediately ordered that the boy should be taken to his treasury and given silver, gold and jewels beyond measure, and that he should then be restored to his parents. This they did, and when his father and mother saw him they uttered praises and thanks giving to the Holy One, blessed be He.
May it be Your will, O L-rd our G-d, to establish peace among the disciples who engage in Your Holy Word. (Berachos 16b-17a)
Seder Elyahu zutta 10th cent
May all your tales end with Shalom (peace)
Listen to more stories told by the Master Storyteller, Rabbi Rachmiel Tobesman – The Treasures of the King, the Princess and the Peat Digger, Seven Jewish stories, on iTunes and Amazon or Coins, Candles and Faith, eight stories of faith on iTunes and Amazon