E retz Yisrael

Sheikh Sayid’s home, only a few miles from Jerusalem, looked like a palace. The new slaves were put to work maintaining the sheikh’s mansion and Rav Shimshon was no exception.

“What did I tell you?” one of the slaves moaned to Rav Shimshon as they both plucked weeds in the enormous garden. “We’re doomed to be slaves forever!”

“I trust in my G-d,” Rav Shimshon answered, wiping away sweat. He paused and stared at the other slave intensely. “I will not always be a slave to this man.”

“As salaamu alaikum [Welcome]!” a voice cried out behind them. “Slave, where is your master?”

Rav Shimshon turned around to face three tall Muslim soldiers wearing armor and long blades at their hips.

“He has traveled to the marketplace, but he should be returning shortly,” Rav Shimshon replied.

“We will wait inside for him,” the soldiers said as they marched through the front door. “Bring us fruit and drink.”

Rav Shimshon followed them inside and waited until they were comfortably seated cross-legged on silken pillows. He placed a bowl of fruit at their feet and waited for further instructions. A few minutes later Sheikh Sayid entered the room.

“Alhamd lilah! [Praise to G-d]!” the sheikh shouted with pleasure at the sight of the soldiers. “Does your presence here mean you have accepted my offer to help the holy fighters of Allah?”

“Bialtaakid, ’akhi [Of course, my brother],” one of the Muslim men replied with a wide smile. “We have to come to heap blessings upon your head. You will change the fate of this entire war, Sheikh Sayid!”

Sheikh Sayid grinned with glee, but then scowled as he caught sight of Rav Shimshon standing against the wall.

“Leave us, alyahudi [Jew],” Sheikh Sayid ordered. “Go prepare my carriage for travel immediately.”

Rav Shimshon obeyed, and moments later the sheikh emerged from his home wearing a determined expression across his dark, narrow face. Wordlessly he snapped his fingers at Rav Shimshon and another slave to enter the carriage. Riding at the front, the sheikh whipped the horses and off they went.

They traveled across the sandy land, underneath the blazing sun. Soon they had left Muslim-controlled territory and were entering land under Christian authority. A passing group of crusaders spotted them and swiftly surrounded the wagon.

“What is your purpose here?” a blond, blue-eyed crusader barked, resting his fingers on the hilt of his giant broadsword. “Are you lost?”

“I was lost, but now I have found the truth!” Sheikh Sayid cried dramatically. “I have seen the falsehood of my bloody religion! I have discovered the light of Christianity and want to convert!”

“That’s a beautiful carriage you own,” the greedy crusader said. “I can teach you our faith and baptize you... but for a fee!”

“I am Sheikh Sayid, one of the richest men in all of this region! I am willing to pay any fee necessary! Money is no issue for me!” He drew three shiny golden coins from his satchel and tossed each one to a different soldier.

“I want to part with my wealth, so long as my fortunes go to helping the holy Christian cause!” Sheikh Sayid said, flashing his wide smile. “All I ask is that you take me to King Richard the Lionheart. Ever since I decided to convert to Christianity, I have been dreaming of gazing upon a true, valiant Christian warrior of G-d!” (Excerpted from Mishpacha Jr., Issue 700)