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The Emissary: Chapter 7

“Like in the days of old, the king summoned his advisers to explain the dream. None could. Until word reached the Jewish community”


In the king’s dream, he was walking through a beautiful garden. All sorts of trees were growing, flowers, fruit… But then the landscape changed and there was nothing. All the beautiful trees with mighty trunks and endless branches extending into the sky were chopped down to stubs. Nothing was left except a lone tree in the middle of the garden. It had once borne long, powerful branches, but now only one branch remained.

“The king stopped at the single tree, staring at it in astonishment. What did this symbolize? What had occurred in this orchard, which had once been teeming with many trees and numerous branches? Then, as the king stood there, he became aware of a man with a flowing white beard approaching him. The man stopped next to the tree and turned to the king, his eyes flashing fire.

“’The orchard! What has become of it now? Someone has come and chopped down all the trees, destroying them without regard to the consequences. And now only this remains? What will be of the future? Will you destroy even this, wicked one?”

“And with that, the elderly man with the shining face and fiery eyes raised his hand and struck the king on his forehead.

“The king awoke in a cold sweat. He shivered, remembering the booming voice of the mysterious old man. He stroked his forehead. He still felt the aching pain from the elderly man’s blow. Dismissing the dream as nothing more than his overactive imagination, the king rolled over and went back to sleep.

“But the dream repeated itself night after night. It was always the same, and he always awoke with his head throbbing, the stern rebuke and blow from the old man reverberating in his mind.

“Like in the days of old, the king summoned his advisers to explain the dream. None could. Until word reached the Jewish community, which was of course still reeling from the terrible and cowardly attack the king had perpetrated against their people. The son-in-law of the leading tzaddik at that time volunteered to interpret the king’s dream. He was granted access to the king’s private chambers, and immediately began to tell the king details about the dream that the king himself had not even shared with others.

“’I see that obviously you are a very wise and special man. Tell me what the dream means, please.’”

“‘The man you saw in the dream is none other than Dovid Hamelech. The chopped trees in the orchard symbolize the precious lives you cut off from the line of Dovid Hamelech. The lone tree represents the last remnant of Dovid Hamelech’s family which is hiding from you in our community.’”

“The king shuddered. He promised on the spot to relent and cease hunting the last survivor. But that was not enough. Realizing for the first time the gravity of what he had done, and surely the awesome punishment awaiting him for the terrible killings, he ordered the interpreter to summon the last remaining family of Dovid Hamelech to his palace. Not only would he not kill them, he would keep them safe from all harm so that the line of Dovid would continue. They would live in royal conditions and have everything they needed to prosper.

“The king was true to his word and the family thrived once more. The first son born from this family was named Bostanai, alluding to the king’s dream, as the word ‘orchard’ in Persian is ‘bostan.’ And the king did not harm the Jews any longer.”

R’ Shmuel concluded his incredible story, and now it was clear to all that he was the right man for the job.

“In Pirkei Avos it says, ‘all who labor for the sake of the community should labor for them for the sake of Heaven, and the merit of their forefathers will aid them…’” R’ Shmuel wiped a tear from his eye. “You all know I have toiled for many years to do whatever I could to support and help our community, no matter the circumstances. I am willing to visit the king, but I request that the community undergo more fasts and days of tefillah while I take this journey. I know what the stakes are, and I’m aware I may not return. As long as my wife grants me permission to do this, I will proceed immediately to the palace. Though everyone knows showing up announced to the king’s gates is punishable by death for a Jew…”

R’ Shmuel did secure the permission of his wife, and the entire community agreed to fast and daven while he proceeded with the dangerous rescue mission. However, R’ Shmuel realized that he could not undergo this journey without the aid of a brilliant and courageous young lady, his daughter Rochel. Together, R’ Shmuel and Rochel set off. The lives of many Jews depended on their success.

On the way to the king’s palace, as they were passing by the wealthier neighborhoods, R’ Shmuel suddenly told his daughter that they must stop the wagon and approach one of the homes. Rochel followed her elderly father until they had reached the doorway of a large, beautiful home.

“If I’m not mistaken, this should be the house of someone who can aid us.”

R’ Shmuel knocked, and a man dressed like a royal aristocrat opened the door. It took him a few minutes to recognize R’ Shmuel, and then he greeted him with a smile and quicky ushered the two Jewish visitors into his elegant home.

to be continued… 


(Originally featured in Mishpacha Jr., Issue 932)

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