Random Quote #47 topic: hebraic, Translations from the Talmud, Midrashim and Kabbala
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Rabbi Blazar, the son of Rabbi Shimon, once vindictively caused
a man to be put to death, merely because he had spoken of him as
Vinegar the son of Wine, a round-about way of reproaching him
that he was the bad son of a good father, though it turned out
afterward that the condemned man deserved death for a crime that
he was not known to be guilty of at the time of his execution;
yet the mind of the Rabbi was ill at ease, and he voluntarily
did penance by subjecting himself in a peculiar fashion to great
bodily suffering. Sixty woolen cloths were regularly spread
under him every night, and these were found soaked in the
morning with his profuse perspiration. The result of this was
greater and greater bodily prostration, which his wife strove,
as related above, day after day to repair, detaining him from
college, lest the debates there should prove too much for his
weakened frame. When his wife found that he persisted in
courting these sufferings, and that her tender care, as well as
her own patrimony, were being lavished on him in vain, she tired
of her assiduity, and left him to his fate. And now, waited on
by some sailors, who believed they owed to him deliverance from
a watery grave, he was free to do as he liked. One day, being
ministered to by them after a night's perspiration of the kind
referred to, he went straight to college, and there decided
sixty doubtful cases against the unanimous dissent of the
assembly. Providential circumstances, which happened afterward,
both proved that he was right in his judgment and that his wife
was wrong in suffering her fondness for him to stand in the way
of the performance of his public duties.

Elijah frequently attended the Rabbi's seat of instruction, and once, on
the first of a month, he came in later than usual. Rabbi asked what had
kept him so late. Elijah answered, "I have to wake up Abraham, Isaac,
and Jacob one after the other, to wash the hands of each, and to wait
until each has said his prayers and retired to rest again." "But," said
Rabbi, "why do they not all get up at the same time?" The answer was,
"Because if they prayed all at once, their united prayers would hurry on
the coming of the Messiah before the time appointed." Then said Rabbi,
"Are there any such praying people among us?" Elijah mentioned Rabbi
Cheyah and his sons. Then Rabbi announced a fast, and the Rabbi Cheyah
and his sons came to celebrate it. In the course of repeating the
Shemoneh Esreh [a prayer consisting of eighteen Collects, which is
repeated three times each day] they were about to say, "Thou restoreth
life to the dead" when the world was convulsed, and the question was
asked in heaven, "Who told them the secret?" So Elijah was bastinadoed
sixty strokes with a cudgel of fire. Then he came down like a fiery
bear, and dashing in among the people, scattered the congregation.

THE TALMUD, _Bava Metzia_, fol. 85, col. 2.



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