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The Gift of a Mezuzah To a Gentile Prince
The Talmud Yerushalmi in Pe'ah describes the following incident. The Amora named Rav received a gift of a precious jewel from a gentile Prince. In return, Rav gave a Mezuzah (a hand written parchment) to the Prince as a gift. When the Prince opened the package with the gift and saw the Mezuzah, he was aggravated by such an insignificant gift. He was especially incensed that such a gift would be given by Rav in return for the expensive gift that he sent. “Frankly Rav,” the Prince said, “I think you are trying to mock me with this gift.”

Rav answered the Prince, “You have sent me an article that has a price, albeit a high price. While I have sent you a gift that is truly priceless. Also, the gift that you sent me will require my constant vigilance to guard against it being stolen. The gift I gave you, on the other hand, will eternally protect you.”

Freely adapted by Tzvi Meir HaCohane (Howard M. Cohn, Patent Attorney)
© Baal Shem Tov Foundation 2003-2005

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