Random Quote #86 topic: hebraic, Translations from the Talmud, Midrashim and Kabbala

We are reminded of this tradition in the conclusion service for
Yom Kippur, where we repeat, "Speedily thou shalt open the
hidden gates to those who hold fast Thy law." The allusion is to
"the gates of the Temple," which "are supposed to be sunk in the

Rabbi Akiva once met on a journey a remarkably ugly man toiling along
under a great load of wood. Rabbi Akiva said unto him, "I adjure thee to
tell me whether thou art a man or a demon." "Rabbi," said he, "I was
once a man, and it is now some time since I left the world. Day after
day I have to carry a load like this, under which I am obliged to bow
down, and submit three times a day to be burned." Then Rabbi Akiva asked
him, "What was the reason of this punishment?" and the reply was, "I
committed an immorality on the Day of Atonement." The Rabbi asked him if
he knew of anything by which he might obtain for him a remission of his
punishment. "I do," was the answer. "When a son whom I have left behind
me is called up to the (public) reading of the law, and shall say,
'Blessed be the blessed Lord,' I shall be drawn out of hell and taken
into Paradise." The Rabbi noted down the name of the man and his
dwelling-place, whither he afterward went and made inquiries about him.
The people of the place only replied, "The name of the wicked shall rot"
(Prov. x. 7). Notwithstanding this, the Rabbi insisted, and said, "Bring
his son to me." When they brought him, he taught the lad to repeat the
blessing, which he did on the ensuing Sabbath at the public reading of
the law; upon which his father was immediately removed from hell to
Paradise. On the self-same night the father repaired direct to Rabbi
Akiva, and gratefully expressed his hope that the Rabbi's mind might be
as much at rest as his own was.

THE MIDRASHIM, _Midrash Assereth Hadibroht._


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