6 Tamuz 5781 / Wednesday, June 16, 2021 | Torah Reading: Chukat
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The Story of Trust, Part 5    

The Story of Trust, Part 5

A third time, the king thought he’d take away the man's livelihood, but again Hashem gave him a brand new livelihood...


Illustrations by Rebecca Shapiro

The Story of Trust, Part 5
The King came to see him again, and saw that all was prepared before him, and that he was very happy. He entered and slept, as before. And he asked him as before, and the other answered as before. So the King went and summoned the Minister, and commanded him not to draw any money from the Treasury to pay any of his men that day. In the morning, the man went to the Minister to receive his daily pay, and the Minister would not pay him. He asked him, "But did we not agree that you would pay me each day?" He answered that the King had decreed not to pay any man that day. And all that he argued with him was to no avail. The Minister said, "It is better that I pay you for two days tomorrow, but today it is impossible to pay you." What did he do? He went and broke off a piece of his sword, and affixed a piece of wood in its place, and the difference could not be discerned from a distance. Then he went and polished that piece of metal, and bought with it his usual meal.
The King came again, and saw that his happiness was even more complete than before. He again entered the house and slept there, and asked him as before, and he explained that he had been obliged to break off a piece of the sword, and had polished it and bought with it his meal. "Later, when I get paid for that day, I will use the money to repair the sword, and the damage will not be noticed at all. For I can fix all sorts of broken things, and there will be no damage to the property of the King."
The King then went to his house, and called the Minister, saying that there was someone sentenced to the death penalty. "So call for that man who you hired as a soldier, and command that he specifically should be the one to decapitate him." The Minister did accordingly. He called him, and he came before the King. And the King commanded to gather all the noblemen, to come and see this farce: Being that there was a man who had inserted a piece of wood in place of the blade of his sword. Then the man came before the King, and fell on his knees, asking, "My lord the King, why was I called?" The King answered, "To cut off the head of the man sentenced to death." He answered him pleadingly, saying that he had never shed blood in his life, and so the King should choose someone else. But the King answered him that specifically he must shed the man's blood. Then he asked the King if the man's guilt was certain. "I have never shed blood in my life, all the more difficult it would be for me to execute someone whose guilt was not assured." The King answered that it was without question that the man was guilty, for there was certainly an accurate sentencing. "And now, it is specifically you that must spill his blood." Upon seeing that it would be impossible to sway the King's decision, the man turned to the Holy One, Blessed be He and said, "G-d Almighty, I have never shed blood in my life. If this man is not guilty, may the metal of my sword turn to wood." He unsheathed his sword, and everyone saw that it was wood, and it was an object of great hilarity. And the King saw that he was a charming man, and he let him go.
The End.


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