t was a bizarre twist of fate for this once mighty king. One moment he was sitting in front of a simple-looking Jew, about to witness a demonstration of the pasuk in Tehillim, “A thousand years are in your eyes like yesterday that has passed,” and in what seemed like the blink of an eye, his kingdom had turned to shambles and he was running for his life.
“Open the gates!” the king screamed at the Jewish men guarding the entrance to the city. “I am your king!”
“You cannot truly be the king. We’ve heard that the royal palace has been reduced to a heap of rubble and that everyone inside was slaughtered without mercy. You are an impostor!”
“Look behind me! You see those horsemen approaching? They are foreign fighters from across the sea. They are pursuing me because I am the king! Don’t you see the crown on my head?”
The two guards glanced at each other uncertainly.
“It is more likely that you are an impostor who stole the king’s crown after he was killed, and those men are chasing you because they want the crown for themselves.”
“They will kill me and feed my carcass to the birds! Please, just let me in!”
“If you are such a lowly thief that you would risk your life to steal a material object that is actually worth nothing in the big picture of life, then perhaps you deserve such a fate.”
The horsemen were so close that the king could see the bloodlust in their eyes and the sun glinting off of the blades they held aloft as they galloped toward him.
“Let me in!”
“No.” The guards spoke in unison. “This is a strictly Jewish city. Violent men and thieves are certainly not welcome.”
“You leave me no choice then.”
The king dug his heels into the sides of the horse and charged at the guards. They yelled in shock and fell back, narrowly avoiding being trampled underneath the king’s steed. The king stood up on the horse and threw himself onto the gates, clambering over to the other side just as his pursuers arrived.
“Open the gates!”
The Jewish guards did not hesitate to open the gates this time.
“There he is! Get him!”
The king fled through the streets, turning left and right, totally lost in this mysterious city that he had never even heard of before yesterday. The sound of people talking and glasses clinking reached his ears. He turned and pushed his way into a large tavern.
He walked briskly to a table in the corner of the room and sat down in the shadows. He watched the entryway for many hours, but his pursuers did not enter. As nighttime fell, an incredible thirst overcame his weary body. His mouth was painfully dry and he felt as though he would die on the spot if he did not drink something immediately.
(Excerpted from Mishpacha Jr., Issue 763)