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The Pearl from G-d

The Pearl from G-d


Rabbi Chiya and Rabbi Shimon ben Chalafta were learning Torah together in the great study hall in Tiberias on the afternoon before Passover (according to some, it was the afternoon before Yom Kippur), when they heard people talking loudly. Rabbi Shimon asked Rabbi Chiya, “What are they doing?”

Rabbi Chiya said, “Those who have are buying groceries, and those who have nothing are going to their employers to demand their pay.”

Rabbi Shimon said, “If that’s what’s going on, I’m going to go to my Employer and He’ll pay me, too.”

He left the city and went to pray in a cave near Tiberias. Soon he saw a hand stretch out and offer him a valuable pearl. He brought the pearl to Rabbi Yehuda Hanassi, who asked him, “Where did you get this? It looks priceless! Take these three dinars, buy all you need in honor of the holiday, and after the holiday we will spread the word and see what price it fetches.”

Rabbi Shimon took the three dinars, went shopping and went home. His wife saw what he’d bought and asked, “Shimon, have you become a thief? Where did you get this?”

“It’s from G‑d,” he said.

“If you don’t tell me where you got it, I won’t taste even a bite of it,” his wife said.

“I prayed to G‑d, and He gave it to me,” he said.

“In the world to come, all the righteous ones will be sitting under canopies that are laden with jewels. Are you telling me that you won’t mind if your canopy has a pearl missing?”

“What should I do?” he asked.

“Go return all the things you’ve bought, give the money back to whoever loaned it to you, and return the pearl to its owner.”

When Rabbi Yehuda Hanassi heard that Rabbi Shimon had changed his mind about accepting the pearl, he summoned Rabbi Shimon’s wife and told her, “You’re causing your righteous husband a lot of anguish!”

She asked him, “Do you want his canopy to have a pearl less than yours in the world to come?”

“And if his is lacking, do you think that there’s no righteous person who will be able to give him one?” countered Rabbi Yehuda.

“Rabbi, I don’t know if we’ll get to see you in the world to come. Doesn’t each righteous person have his own abode there?” she asked.

Rabbi Yehuda admitted that she was right.

When Rabbi Shimon heard the outcome of the conversation, he returned the pearl. When he’d taken the pearl, Rabbi Shimon’s palm had faced up; when he reached out to return it, his palm was down, the angel’s hand was under it, as if he were giving a loan to G‑d.

The rabbis said, “The second miracle was greater than the first, since it’s the way of the heavens to give but not to take.”

Ruth Rabbah 3:4; Exodus Rabbah 52:3
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sharon samtur via May 17, 2015

When G-d gives we must receive the gift. If we deny the will of G-d to give then we bring on suffering for ourselves. To receive in order to give, this is kabbalah. Reply

mom of 9 mo May 16, 2015

A little confused This confuses me a little, but I do know that she shes should not have accused her husband of being a thief and demanded that he returns the gift. Especially if he was considered a righteous man. Reply

Leaf May 15, 2015

FB Please allow us to share these on FB . The "share" icon is gone . Reply

A. Bet Hai ku May 14, 2015

Beautiful - lovely fluidity ... felt like the day of graduation when i read this today.

like a time of the eternal day, the shabbos day that has no end.

lots of inlets of mystery and rivers of discovery. Reply

Casper Netherlands May 13, 2015

Wow Wise words! Reply

Cabezudo Qro. Mexico May 11, 2015

A clever answer turns down the most ingenious puzzle. While reading this beautiful tale from the Midrash I couldn't help but to remember some people I've met along my life whom I'm not sure I'll get to see in the world to come. Surely, the good judgement of his wife was a Rabbi Shimon's asset. Reply

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