Random Quote #62 topic: hebraic, Translations from the Talmud, Midrashim and Kabbala

Once the Roman Government issued a decree that the Israelites should
neither observe the Sabbath nor circumcise their sons. Thereupon Reuben
the son of Istrubli trimmed his hair as a Gentile, and went among the
Roman senators and plied them with wise remonstrance. "If one," said he,
"has an enemy, does he wish him to be poor or rich?" "To be poor," was
the reply. "Then," he argued, "won't he be poorer if you prohibit him
from working on the Sabbath?" "It is well said," observed the senators;
and they at once abolished their decree respecting the Sabbath. Again he
asked, "If one has an enemy, does he wish him to be weak or strong?"
"Why, weak, to be sure," was the inevitable answer. "Then," said he,
"let the Jews circumcise their children, then will they be weakened."
"The argument is good," said they, and the decree against circumcision
was rescinded. Again he asked, "If one has an enemy, does he wish him to
increase or decrease?" "To decrease, of course," said they. In response
to his argument the decree against catamenia was accordingly abolished.
When, however, they found out that he was a Jew, they at once re-enacted
the decrees they had canceled. Upon this the question arose who should
go to Rome and appeal against these enactments. It was resolved that
Rabbi Shimon ben Yochai, who was reputed experienced in miracles, should
go, accompanied by Rabbi Elazar, the son of Rabbi Yossi.... As they
journeyed along, the question was proposed to them, "Whence is it proved
that the blood of a reptile is unclean?" Rabbi Elazar replied with a
curl of the lip, and quoted Lev. ii. 29. "And these shall be unclean
unto you." Rabbi Shimon said unto him, "By the curl of thy lip art thou
recognizable as a disciple of the wise! May the son never return to his
father!" for he was annoyed that he should presume to teach a Halachah
in his presence, and then and there he condemned him to death. (See
THE TALMUD, _Berachoth_, fol. 31, col. 2.) Thereupon Ben Temalion (an evil sprite or


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