Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Merit of Torah

A certain well known sinner died suddenly. Although today the vast majority of sinners are not responsible for their actions and can be compared to kidnapped children, it wasn’t always so. In earlier times, people who were severe sinners separated themselves from the rest of the Jewish people through their actions, especially if they were set in their new ways and were unrepentant.
Understandably, people were very upset by this sinner’s behavior. One incensed young Torah scholar actually slapped the dead sinner’s face to show his disdain toward the rebel who had rejected Toras Moshe. The funeral proceeded and everyone forgot about the matter.
That night, the Torah scholar who hit the sinner had a terrifying dream. He dreamt that the sinner came to him and said, “You dared hit me in public? Come join me for adjudication for this terrible offense!”
The young man awoke trembling with fear, it had seemed so real. When he told his father he merely replied, “Don’t think a moment about this. It was a nightmare that could happen to anyone which has no meaning.”
The next night the dream recurred. On the third night the sinner was significantly more menacing which caused the young man even more alarm and despondency. As a different version of the same kind of dream continued to recur night after night, the young man, spent virtually every waking hour dreading them. It is not surprising that he fell ill and his family feared for his life. The Maharsha, zt”l, ordered the boy moved to his house.
The next day, he sent this the young man home. The last time he had the dream was the night at the Maharsha’s house.
When the family asked the Maharshah what had happened, he explained, “The rashah once saved a talmid chacham from drowning and even supported this person in learning for many years. It was this zechus that protected him from punishment. I reasoned with the spirit of the dead man that if his threats frightened your son to death it would allow all the accusing angels to pierce the barrier of this zechus since they would have an ironclad claim that although he saved a talmid chacham, he also killed one. Naturally, the deceased immediately stopped hounding your son!”

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