A massive bolt of lightning streaked across the dark sky. Thunder rumbled in the distant as cold raindrops began to fall from the heavens. The sea itself seemed to be churning and bubbling with dark energy as a colossal storm began to brew in the air.

A lone ship in the endless black ocean began to toss to and fro. Waves the size of houses washed over the deck, drenching the panicked sailors and their frantic captain. Nobody had ever seen a storm begin so quickly! Only a few moments before the sea had been quiet and peaceful.

“Everyone below deck!” the captain screamed as another wave crashed over everyone’s heads. “Now!”

Panicked passengers fled across the drenched deck. Sailors stared in terror as the storm intensified. A blast of wind suddenly struck the mast of the ship, cracking the wood in half. Cries of horror rang out as pieces of wood rained down upon the helpless crew.

“This is no ordinary storm!” the captain gasped, holding on to the railing of the ship for support. “This is the hand of G-d!”

Only one passenger stayed on deck. He was frozen with fear and unable to escape below with the rest. His eyes watched as the sky lit up with dozens of lightning strikes. Another enormous wave washed over the ship and sent two sailors plummeting into the turbulent ocean.

The man watching knew what was causing this horrifying storm. It was all his fault. He never should have tricked his brother. The man’s name was Reb Chaim and his brother was none other than the great Rav Shimshon Mikutzi, one of the greatest disciples of Rabbeinu Tam.



France, one day earlier…

Rav Shimshon Mikutzi sat learning inside his home. Birds chirped pleasantly outside and the smell of challah being prepared for Shabbos wafted through the air. A hesitant knock on the door to his cottage interrupted his concentration.

“Bonjour!” Rav Shimshon said as the door opened and his brother walked in. Reb Chaim was adorned in the clothing of the local French noblemen. He was indeed a very successful businessman.

“Je suis désolé (I’m sorry),” Reb Chaim said, taking off his elegant hat and settling down carefully on a small stool. “You know I hate to disrupt your learning. But I needed to speak to you immediately.”

Reb Chaim’s eyes surveyed the extremely modest home of his holy brother. The room was almost bare except a small table with a few scrolls on top and two rickety chairs. In this room Rav Shimshon plundered the depths of the Torah and its infinite secrets.

“You know I have faithfully supported you for many years,” Reb Chaim began slowly. “Each week I send my servant to bring you enough money so that you can feed your family comfortably. And I am happy doing so! For I know that my money is enabling you to hold up the world with your learning!”

“Yet, something is troubling you,” Rav Shimshon said softly, watching his brother twisting his hands together nervously. (Excerpted from Mishpacha Jr., Issue 697)