R av Shimshon grasped his brother by the shoulders.

“You can take my place,” he whispered.

“We don’t have all day to simply stand around!” the pirates yelled. “One of you go already! We have to continue traveling soon!”

“We cannot leave such a gaon in captivity!” the Jews cried to Rav Shimshon. “It is you whom we tried so hard to rescue! Please, you cannot trade places with your brother!”

“If what you are doing is for my sake, then I request that you free my brother instead!” Rav Shimshon declared. “Take care of him and make sure he is able to travel back to France.”

“How much longer will you be staying here?” the Jews asked the pirates. “We will rally once more and gather the necessary funds to free both of them!”

“We leave by dawn!” the pirates declared. “And we won’t wait an extra moment for you!”

“I believe that Hashem will continue to watch over me,” Rav Shimshon said quietly to the group of Jews. “Meanwhile, please free my brother!”

“Thank you for this!” Chaim sobbed, embracing his brother tightly. “Thank you!”

“We will try to return to you before nightfall, Rav Shimshon!” the Jews said tearfully. “We won’t let you languish in chains like this!”

“You are a fool!” the pirates spat at Rav Shimshon as Chaim and the other Jews sadly walked away. “You will never see them again!”

“They may raise enough money before daybreak!” Rav Shimshon said. “All is not lost...”

“Ha!” The pirates roared with laughter. “We may be gone by tomorrow, but you will be gone before midnight!”

“What do you mean?” Rav Shimshon asked with a sinking feeling in his stomach.

“There is an extremely wealthy Arab who travels to this region around this time every year,” one of the pirates explained. “His name is Sheikh Sayid and when he purchases slaves from us, he takes every single man in our possession!”

Suddenly the ground began to shake. Everyone looked up to see a grand procession making its way down the dirt road toward them. Servants running alongside a white chariot pulled by two black horses approached the pirates and Rav Shimshon.

“Speaking of the man himself!” the pirates laughed. “Behold, the great Sheikh Sayid!”

(Excerpted from Mishpacha Jr., Issue 699)