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Legends of the Jews - Vol 1

Legends of the Jews - Vol 1

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Published by Bot Psalmerna

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Published by: Bot Psalmerna on May 24, 2008
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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When the wives of Lamech heard the decision of Adam, that they were to continue to live with their
husband, they turned upon him, saying, "O physician, heal thine own lameness!" They were alluding to the
fact that he himself had been living apart from his wife since the death of Abel, for he had said, "Why
should I beget children, if it is but to expose them to death?"[46]

Though he avoided intercourse with Eve, he was visited in his sleep by female spirits, and from his union
with them sprang shades and demons of various kinds,[47] and they were endowed with peculiar gifts.

Once upon a time there lived in Palestine a very rich and pious man, who had a son named Rabbi Hanina. He
knew the whole of the Torah by heart. When he was at the point of death, he sent for his son, Rabbi Hanina,
and bade him, as his last request, to study the Torah day and night, fulfil the commands of the law, and be a
faithful friend to the poor. He also told him that he and his wife, the mother of Rabbi Hanina, would die on
the selfsame day, and the seven days of mourning for the two would end on the eve of the Passover. He
enjoined him not to grieve excessively, but to go to market on that day, and buy the first article offered to
him, no matter how costly it might be. If it happened to be an edible, he was to prepare it and serve it with
much ceremony. His expense and trouble would receive their recompense. All happened as foretold: the man
and his wife died upon the same day, and the end of the week of mourning coincided with the eve of the
Passover. The son in turn carried out his father's behest: he repaired to market, and there he met an old man
who offered a silver dish for sale. Although the price asked was exorbitant, yet he bought it, as his father
had bidden. The dish was set upon the Seder table, and when Rabbi Hanina opened it, he found a second
dish within, and inside of this a live frog, jumping and hopping around gleefully. He gave the frog food and
drink, and by the end of the festival he was grown so big that Rabbi Hanina made a cabinet for him, in which
he ate and lived. In the course of time, the cabinet became too small, and the Rabbi built a chamber, put the
frog within, and gave him abundant food and drink. All this he did that he might not violate his father's last
wish. But the frog waxed and grew; he consumed all his host owned, until, finally, Rabbi Hanina was
stripped bare of all his possessions. Then the frog opened his mouth and began to speak. "My dear Rabbi
Hanina," he said, "do not worry! Seeing thou didst raise me and care for me, thou mayest ask of me

whatever thy heart desireth, and it shall be granted thee." Rabbi Hanina made reply, "I desire naught but
that thou shouldst teach me the whole of the Torah." The frog assented, and he did, indeed, teach him the
whole of the Torah, and the seventy languages of men besides.[48] His method was to write a few words
upon a scrap of paper, which he had his pupil swallow. Thus he acquired not alone the Torah and the
seventy tongues, but also the language of beasts and birds. Thereupon the frog spoke to the wife of Rabbi
Hanina: "Thou didst tend me well, and I have given thee no recompense. But thy reward will be paid thee
before I depart from you, only you must both accompany me to the woods. There you shall see what I shall
do for you." Accordingly, they went to the woods with him. Arrived there, the frog began to cry aloud, and
at the sound all sorts of beasts and birds assembled. These he commanded to produce precious stones, as
many as they could carry. Also they were to bring herbs and roots for the wife of Rabbi Hanina, and he
taught her how to use them as remedies for all varieties of disease. All this they were bidden to take home
with them. When they were about to return, the frog addressed them thus: "May the Holy One, blessed be
He, have mercy upon you, and requite you for all the trouble you took on my account, without so much as
inquiring who I am. Now I shall make my origin known to you. I am the son of Adam, a son whom he begot
during the hundred and thirty years of his separation from Eve. God has endowed me with the power of
assuming any form or guise I desire." Rabbi Hanina and his wife departed for their home, and they became
very rich, and enjoyed the respect and confidence of the king.[49]

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