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The Power of Faith and an Oath

The post The Power of Faith and an Oath appeared first on Story Tour.

Keep far from a false word” (Exodus 23:7).

There were once two brothers who lived in the south of the land; and they were very wealthy. One of them married, while the other devoted his life to serving the Holy One, blessed be He with all his heart, with all his soul and with all his might (Deuteronomy 6:5). He mourned the destruction of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem saying: “The Temple of the Holy One, blessed be He has been destroyed, so I shall likewise be destroyed and shall not take a wife, nor shall I rejoice in the world. Since the Holy Temple is like a mourner, I shall also behave like a mourner.”

On every occasion he used to go to his brother to wish him well. Once he went to his brother’s house to wish him well and did not find him there. Now that day his brother’s wife was washing her garments and had taken off her jewelry which was worth more than ten thousand dinars; and she placed it in front of her. When her husband’s brother came to wish his brother well, he entered the courtyard and did not find him there. And when his brother’s wife saw him, she went away out of modesty,. There is nothing more desirable than “modesty. “Now there was a lofty tree there, a kind of palm. A certain bird made its nest in the uppermost fronds. When she retired before her brother-in-law, she left her jewels behind. When the good man found nobody there, he went his way; but the bird came down, took the jewels and went and placed them in its nest.

When the husband returned from the market, he found his wife weeping and tearing her hair. “Why are you weeping?” he asked; and she told him: “I was cleaning my clothes and took my jewelry off my neck and placed it down in front of me. A little later I looked for it but could not find it and I do not know who can have stolen it.” “Who entered the courtyard?” asked he. “The only one who came in,” said she, “was your brother and no one else can have taken it.” “Now he has abandoned all the contentment of the world,” said her husband, “and his inheritance and his money and all that belonged to him in order to go and serve the Ever-Present One, may He be blessed, with full love; yet you say that my brother was the one who stole your jewels?” At this, she stood and said: “Take him to the sages and let him swear an oath.” He listened to his wife and went and sought for his brother and then led him to the sages and began to tell them the story: “This and this is what happened.” And they said to him: “If a man abandons all the ease and contentment of this world, can he steal your wife’s jewels? Nobody like this saintly is going to do such a thing.”

Isaiah 10:14 Leviticus 19:12

Now the matter came before Rabban Yochanan ben Zakkai, and he said to the pious brother: “What do you say? Will you take oath?” And he answered: “Yes, I shall swear truly and have no fear of anything.” Then Rabban Yochanan said to him: “Satisfy him with your money and do not take oath!” But he answered: “No, indeed, I must take oath in order that people should not say that I am to be suspected.” And he was prepared to take an oath even though God might punish him for doing so.

Then Rabban Yochanan said to him: “Come back to me tomorrow morning.” And when he himself went home, he prayed: “Lord of the Universe, You are well aware of all that is hidden and You know about this matter. Deliver him from this transgression.” Then he heard a divine echo: “Rabban Yochanan ben Zakkai, go to his brother’s courtyard. There you will see a tree, and in the tree-top you can find the thing of which the man has been suspected.” They went and found it there.

Rabban Yochanan was very astonished at this. Because he had merely said that he would swear to the truth, the pious man who had not robbed or stolen had been punished. How much more so one who swears falsely and profanes the Name of the Holy and Blessed One! That is why the Torah says: “You shall not swear falsely by My Name” (Leviticus 19:12)

May all your tales end with Shalom (peace)

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Tell it to your children, and let your children tell it to their children, and their children to the next generation. (Joel 1:3)

Rachmiel Tobesman is a motivational speaker and Maggid (spiritual Storyteller). He is available for speaking engagements or storytelling, Click here to contact us

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