Random Quote #44 topic: hebraic, Translations from the Talmud, Midrashim and Kabbala
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Rabbi Yehudah, Rabbi Yossi, and Rabbi Shimon (ben Yochai) were sitting
together, and Yehudah ben Gerim (the son, says Rashi, of proselyte
parents) beside them. In the course of conversation Rabbi Yehudah
remarked, "How beautiful and serviceable are the works of these Romans!
They have established markets, spanned rivers by bridges, and erected
baths." To this remark Rabbi Yossi kept silent, but Rabbi Shimon
replied, "Yea, indeed; but all these they have done to benefit
themselves. The markets they have opened to feed licentiousness, they
have erected baths for their own pleasure, and the bridges they have
raised for collecting tolls." Yehudah ben Gerim thereupon went direct
and informed against them, and the report having reached the Emperor's
ears, an edict was immediately issued that Rabbi Yehudah should be
promoted, Rabbi Yossi banished to Sepphoris, and Rabbi Shimon taken and
executed. Rabbi Shimon and his son, however, managed to secret
themselves in a college, where they were purveyed to by the Rabbi's
wife, who brought them daily bread and water. One day mistrust seized
the Rabbi, and he said to his son, "Women are light-minded; the Romans
may tease her and then she will betray us." So they stole away and hid
themselves in a cave. Here the Lord interposed by a miracle, and created
a carob-tree bearing fruit all the year round for their support, and
opened a perennial spring for their refreshment. To save their clothes
they laid them aside except at prayers, and to protect their naked
bodies from exposure they would at other times sit up to their necks in
sand, absorbed in study. After they had passed twelve years thus in the
cave, Elijah was sent to inform them that the Emperor was dead, and his
decree powerless to touch them. On leaving the cave, they noticed some
people plowing and sowing, when one of them exclaimed, "These folk
neglect eternal things and trouble themselves with the things that are
temporal." As they fixed their eyes upon the place, fire came and burnt
it up. Then a Bath Kol was heard exclaiming, "What! are ye come forth to
destroy the world I have made? Get back to your cave and hide you."
Thither accordingly they returned, and after they had stopped there
twelve months longer, they remonstrated, pleading that even the judgment
of the wicked in Gehenna lasted no longer than twelve months; upon which
a Bath Kol was again heard from heaven, which said, "Come ye forth from
your cave." Then they arose and obeyed it.

THE TALMUD, _Shabbath_, fol. 33, col 2.



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