Bedtime Stories of Jewish Values
By Shmuel Blitz
Mesorah Publications, Ltd.
Reb Yitzchak used to buy and sell rare and precious stones. He owned a valuable blue sapphire. It was worth more than all his other jewels put together.
The king of the land had an idol he worshiped. It had two sapphires for eyes. One morning the king noticed that one of the idols eyes was gone.
Who would dare steal the eye of my favorite idol? thundered the king. When that man is found, he will be killed. But first, my idol needs a new eye. I want it fast!
The kings trusted adviser, Salmen, approached. I know of only one man in the entire kingdom who has such a sapphire. He is a Jew, named Reb Yitzchak.
Go quickly, ordered the king. Give him as much money as he wants. Even give him 10 talents of gold for the gem. I want it now!
Salmen rushed off and boarded a ship to see Reb Yitzchak. A few days later they met. The king will give you 10 talents of gold for your precious sapphire, offered Salmen. You surely know that this is much more than it is worth.
A very generous offer, indeed, Reb Yitzchak replied, but I cannot sell one of my jewels for idol worship. I cannot accept your offer.
You will accept the offer! shouted Salmen. If you dont, I will have you killed and I will take the gem anyway.
Reb Yitzchak saw he had no choice and pretended to agree. The two men boarded the next boat and set sail to bring the jewel to the king.
On the boat, Salmen asked to see the jewel. It must be so beautiful.
Reb Yitzchak took the jewel out of its pouch and held it up so Salmen could see it. Come hold it, said Reb Yitzchak, but please be careful.
When Salmen tried to take the jewel, Reb Yitzchak pretended his hand was shaking. The jewel was thrown overboard into the water.
My jewel is lost! cried Reb Yitzchak. All that gold is lost! In truth, this had been his plan. He would not let his jewel be used for idol worship.
Reb Yitzchak and his wife did not have any children. For many years, they had been praying to Hashem for a child they could love and teach. The year after his sapphire was lost, Hashem rewarded Reb Yitzchak with an even more valuable jewel, a son named Shlomo. He grew up to become Rashi, the great teacher of the Jewish people.
Reb Yitzchak was a man of great integrity. Even though it meant losing a large amount of money, he would not allow his jewel to be used for idol worship.