Inside the Chacham’s home a strange scene was unfolding as the Chacham sat on a cushion opposite the greatest Jew hater in all of Persia.

“Prime Minister Azzam, why would I help you? Your main mission in life seems to be figuring out new ways to burden the Jews with unfair taxes. Surely you realize that I cannot assist an enemy of my nation.”

“I will decrease the taxes slightly. That’s a promise. Now, tell me if you know of some way to wipe out these horrible locusts!”

“Perhaps you haven’t seen just how terrible the locust plague has become. How can I, a simple old man, figure out a solution to this enormous problem?”

Azzam swallowed hard and tried to quell the angry roar threatening to burst forth from his throat. “I’ll lower the taxes by 50 percent!”

“I wish I could help you. I’m sorry.”

“I’ll abolish all the taxes required of the Jews!”

“I’m glad you said that. Come to the back of the house and I will show you a powerful potion that I have already started preparing to kill the locusts. But be careful. This potion is extremely toxic. Do not let it touch your hands!”

Azzam stared at the bubbling vat sitting on a small fire the Chacham had built.

“Take 500 of your fastest riders and have them gallop through the city spreading it at the main places where the locusts are gathered. But make sure that this liquid does not touch anyone's mouth. It is incredibly poisonous.”

“I suppose I’m supposed to thank you now.” Azzam’s face turned a greenish color at the thought.

“I don’t need your thanks. Just be sure to keep your side of the bargain and abolish the evil tax decrees against my people.”

Azzam swallowed hard. “Consider it done.”


That day the sound of thundering hoofbeats reverberated across the land as mighty stallions and their riders flew through the kingdom. They spread the Chacham’s potion and it worked like magic. Millions of dead locusts littered the dusty earth before nightfall.

A sigh of relief went up across the land and everyone learned of the person who had truly created the miraculous potion. Azzam was once again scorned by the public and the people’s love and admiration for the wise Chacham Bashi grew even greater.

“You told people I asked the Jew for help!” Azzam wrapped his hands around Ali’s throat in uncontrollable rage.

“I-I d-didn’t!” Ali’s face turned several shades of purple. “D-don’t take your anger o-out on m-me! I-it’s not m-my fault the Chacham is w-wiser than y-you’ll ever be!”

Azzam threw Ali to the ground. “Dead men share no wisdom.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?” Ali rubbed his throat where Azzam had throttled him.

Azzam smiled evilly and disappeared inside his mansion.

(Excerpted from Mishpacha Jr., Issue 729)