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Shimshon and the Golem, Part 2: Chapter 6

Rousing himself from his exhaustion, Shimshon rolled over, got to his feet shakily, and then followed the smell into the nearby forest



himshon awoke as the golem finally stopped running through the forest. He blinked and saw the sun setting in the sky. Before them lay a giant river that seemed to stretch until the ends of the earth. The river was shimmering, rippling as it reflected the deep-red rays of the setting sun.

“Reb Shabsi, where are we?”

“Who knows?”

The golem knelt and tenderly plucked Shabsi from his back, placing him on the bank overlooking the vast river. Shimshon slid down the golem’s shoulder, landing hard on the soft ground.


“He’ll take you off, my boy, no need to slide off.”

“I don’t trust him.”

“Of course, you can trust him, silly child. Pinchas is very trustworthy.”

“But he’s still a golem, not a human being. We have to be cautious.”

The golem glowered at Shimshon, then stretched out on the ground and closed his giant eyes. He began to snore immediately as he fell into a deep, exhausted sleep.

“We should talk, Reb Shabsi. We can’t keep running forever. We have to find a place, somewhere far from here, where we’ll be safe from Sylvester.”

“From who?”

“Sylvester! The man chasing us.”

“Why is he chasing us?”

Shimshon stared.

“Need to daven, then sleep. Talk later, okay?”

Reb Shabsi washed his hands with a clay jug next to the river, davened, then lay down underneath the golem’s giant forearm, and was soon fast asleep.

Shimshon shook his head.

“I’m all alone out here. Reb Shabsi’s memory is gone. And who knows how much the golem understands what’s happening. For all we know he may be taking us into greater danger.” Shimshon felt a wave of despair washing over him. Then, he looked up at the immense sky, awed by the majesty, the infinity of it all. “Truthfully, I’m never alone… Hashem is here. He is everywhere.”

The thought bolstered his spirits. He davened, and felt that even though Baruch and Uncle Nathan were far away, his greatest protector — His Father in Heaven — was right by his side.

After davening, he walked down to the river’s edge and took off his shoes. He waded in, splashing himself with the refreshing water. He’d thought the water might be chilly, but it was warm and inviting, and he decided he would swim a bit.

With well-executed strokes, Shimshon started to swim across the river. He felt like he was letting out all the tension and fear of the past several weeks. He was exhausted when he got to the middle of the river, but he had already made up his mind that he would reach the other side.

By the time he dragged himself onto the opposite bank of the river, he was breathing very heavily, and his muscles were screaming in pain. He collapsed onto his back, and lay there, soaking wet, starting up at the stars now shimmering in the sky.

The plan had been to swim back, of course, and sleep next to the golem and Reb Shabsi. But he knew he didn’t have the strength to do so. But then, just as his eyes began to close, he smelled smoke.

Rousing himself from his exhaustion, Shimshon rolled over, got to his feet shakily, and then followed the smell into the nearby forest. He crept through the trees and saw a hut. Three men with scraggly beards were sitting outside on logs, cooking meat on skewers over a fire.

“I wonder where Jorin is?” one of the men asked, turning his skewer over the flames. “Wasn’t he supposed to be back an hour ago?”

“He was, yes. Strange things happening in these lands, I tell you. Did you hear the stomping today? Something was moving through these forests, something enormous. I think the world is about to get a lot less safe. Feel it my bones, I do.”

Suddenly there was movement behind Shimshon. He spun around but it was too late.

A young man was standing there, also with a long beard, and he had drawn his axe.

“Who are you? What are you doing out here?” he demanded of Shimshon.

“Please, let me go. I’m just lost.”

“’Just lost?’” The man’s axe lowered a bit. “How did you get here?”

“I was swimming with my family earlier. A current caught me, and I got swept away from them. I’ve been wandering around all day trying to find my way back.”

Back at the hut, the men were beginning to talk a bit louder.

“Jorin? Where is that boy? Think he needs us to come after him?”

“Nah, he’ll find his way back. He’ll return sooner or later. He’s a big enough lad to fend for himself.”

“You think so? Even with enormous things moving about the forests?”

Jorin turned his attention back to Shimshon.

“You need to get out of here.”

“Yes, yes, I know. And I’m happy to do that. Just put away the axe, please?”

Jorin slid the axe into a sheath slung across his back.

“You need to go.”

Shimshon nodded, moving around Jorin, back toward the river.

“Thank you.”

“Just go.”

And it was at that moment that from somewhere across the river there came a rumbling noise. Then, a voice echoed across the river. A raspy, squeaky voice.

“…imshon? Shimshon! Where are you, boy?”

Another incoherent rumble that shook the trees.

The golem….

“What was that? You hear that?”

“Hear it? I felt it! Something’s out there!”

The man back at the hut were on their feet, racing in Shimshon’s direction.

The man named Jorin pushed Shimshon toward the river.


But it was too late. A moment later the men had caught up to Shimshon and wrestled him to the ground. He was dragged back to the hut and tied to a chair.

“Who are you?” the men demanded. “Why are you here?”

“I got lost.”

“It’s true, just cut him loose.” Jorin was the last to enter the hut, shutting the door softly.

“Cut him loose? Why? What if he’s connected to that strange noise, the thing stomping around today?”

“He’s just a kid who’s lost.”

Shimshon held his breath as the men decided his fate. He knew that everything is decided by Hashem, not human beings. So he directed his mind and heart to Hashem, davening for salvation.

One of the men stepped forward.

“Here’s what’s going to happen next, boy….”

to be continued… 


(Originally featured in Mishpacha Jr., Issue 971)

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