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Rabbi Chanina and the Rock

Rabbi Chanina and the Rock

Ethics 2:12

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Rabbi Yosai said: All your deeds should be for the sake of Heaven. (Avot 2:12)

"As the men lifted the stone, Rabbi Chanina placed his hand under it too."
"As the men lifted the stone, Rabbi Chanina placed his hand under it too."
Rabbi Chanina ben Dosa watched all the people going up to Jerusalem, taking with them fine gifts and offerings for the Temple.

How he longed to go with them, and bring some wonderful gift for G‑d. Alas, Rabbi Chanina was very poor. He had nothing he could offer to G‑d.

He wandered sadly till he was all alone in a deserted field. Suddenly he saw an interesting stone on the ground. It was very large and beautiful.

“What a splendid idea!” thought Rabbi Chanina. “I will take this stone to the Holy Temple as my gift to G‑d!”

Rabbi Chanina ran home to get his tools. He cut the stone, and polished it till its colors shone beautifully.

At last it was fit to decorate the Holy Temple.

But how would he ever get it there? He looked for someone to help. He would need five strong men to carry it, and they would have to be paid. What was Rabbi Chanina to do? He barely had five gold coins as his whole life’s savings.

Suddenly five men appeared as if out of nowhere. “We will help you carry this stone,” they said. “Can you give us each one gold coin?”

That was exactly how much money Rabbi Chanina could afford.

“Yes,” he agreed at once. “I will give you that much!”

“You must also help us to carry the stone,” the men said.

As the men lifted the stone, Rabbi Chanina placed his hand under it too. It felt miraculously light. Suddenly, he found himself in Jerusalem, standing right there in the Holy Temple. “Here, I’ll pay you,” he said to the men, but they had all vanished!

Rabbi Chanina hurried to speak with the Sages who sat in the Temple. They smiled. “Those men must have been angels sent to help you!” they said. So Rabbi Chanina gave the money to poor Torah students instead, and thanked G‑d for helping him.

This story teaches us many interesting lessons.

Nowadays it is in our hands to bring Moshiach. That might seem like an impossibly difficult task. How can we ever do it?

We must take a lesson from Rabbi Chanina. If we really want to do bring Moshiach, we need only try. Even if all we do is "put our hand to the rock," G‑d will make it possible for us, and before we know it, we will find ourselves in Jerusalem, together with Moshiach, and all the Jewish people. Now!

Courtesy of Tzivos Hashem and the archives of The Moshiach Times children's magazine. If you would like to subscribe to The Moshiach Times, click here to contact Tzivos Hashem.
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Ethics of the Fathers is a tractate of the Mishna that details the Torah's views on ethics and interpersonal relationships. Enjoy insights, audio classes and stories on these fascinating topics.
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