Translation:Tales of Rabbi Nachman/5
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The King's Son Who Was Made of Gemstones
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There was once a king who had no children. He went and got involved with doctors so that his kingdom should not be turned over to strangers, but they did not help him. So he decreed on the Jews to pray for him to have children. The Jews sought a tzaddik to pray and cause it happen that the king should have children. They sought and found a hidden tzaddik, and they told him to pray for the king to have children. He replied: he knows nothing at all [gar nisht]; they informed the king (inasmuch as there was a hidden tzaddik there, but he said he knew gar nisht). The king sent a royal order for him, and they brought him before the king. The king began talking kindly with him, “You know very well that the Jews are in my hands. I can do with them what I will. Therefore I ask you with goodness, pray that I have children.” The tzaddik ensured the king that the same year he would have a child, and he went home. The queen bore a daughter, and this queen's daughter was extremely beautiful. When she was four years old, she knew all the wisdoms and languages, and could play musical instruments. Kings from all countries would travel to see her, and it was a great joy for the king.
Afterwards the king very much wanted to have a son so that his kingdom should not go away to a stranger, so he again decreed on the Jews that they should pray for him to have a son. They were searching for the first tzaddik, but they could not find him, for he had already passed away. They continued searching and they found another hidden tzaddik. And they told him that he should give the king a son, and he said that he does not know anything. Again they informed the king, and the king said to the tzaddik also as before, “You know very well the Jews are in my hand, etc.” The sage (that is, this tzaddik) said to him, “But will you be able to do what I order?” The king said, “Yes.” The sage said to him, “I need you to bring all the types of gemstones (lit. good stones), because each gemstone has in it a different segulah (ability, charm).” And by the kings there is a book wherein are written all the types of gemstones. The king said, “I will spend half of my kingdom in order to have a son.” And the king went and brought him all the types of gemstones. The sage took them and ground them, and took a goblet of wine and poured them in the wine. And he gave a half cup of wine to the king to drink, and the other half to the queen. And he told them that they would have a son who would be thoroughly of gemstones, and he would have in him all the segulot of all of the gemstones, and he went home. The queen gave birth to a son, and the king rejoiced very greatly, but the son that was born was not made of gemstones. When the son was four years old, he was extremely handsome, very wise in all the wisdoms, and knew all the languages. Kings traveled to see him. Now, the princess saw that she was no longer so important, and she was jealous of him. The only consolation for her was that the tzaddik had said that he would be completely of gemstones; good that at least he was not made of gemstones.
Once, the prince was carving wood and he nicked his finger. The princess ran to bandage his finger and she saw a gemstone there. She was extremely jealous of him, and she made herself sick. Many doctors came but were unable to heal her at all. Sorcerers were called. A sorcerer was there, to whom she disclosed the truth, that she had made herself sick because of her brother, as mentioned. And she asked the sorcerer if it were possible to perform a spell on a man to become leprous. He said, “Yes.” She said to the sorcerer, “What if he asks another sorcerer to annul the spell so that he will be healed?” The sorcerer said, “If the sorcery is thrown into the water, it can no longer be annulled.” She did so and threw the sorcery into the water. The prince became very leprous. He had leprosy on his nose, on his face and on the rest of his body. The king got involved with doctors and with sorcerers, but they were of no avail. The king decreed on the Jews to pray. The Jews sought the tzaddik (who had prayed for the king to have a son, as mentioned), and brought him before the king. Now, this tzaddik would always pray before Hashem Yitbarakh, inasmuch as he had promised the king that his son would be completely made of gemstones, and it had not been fulfilled. And he complained to the Eibishter (the Most High; God), “Have I done this for honor's sake? I have done this only for Your honor, and now, it has not been fulfilled the way I said.” And the tzaddik came to the king. The tzaddik had prayed (namely, for the leprosy of the prince to be healed), but to no avail. He was informed that it was sorcery.
Now, this tzaddik was higher than all sorcery. The tzaddik came and informed the king that it was a sorcery, and that the sorcery had been thrown into the water, so the prince could not be healed except by throwing the sorcerer who performed the spell into the water. The king said, “I give you all the sorcerers to throw into the water so that my son be healed.” The princess was afraid, so she ran to the water to pull the sorcery out of the water, for she knew where it was. She fell into the water. A great tumult erupted over the princess’ falling into the water. The tzaddik came and said that the prince would be healed. And he was healed, the leprosy withered up and fell off, and his entire skin peeled off. And he was entirely of gemstones, as the tzaddik had said.
- Sichot_Haran #147 — Regarding this story and the Divine Name of 42 Letters.
- See Midrash Tanchuma Vayetze 16: that while Hashem retains to himself (in general; see Taanit 2a) the keys for rain, sustenance, revival of the dead and childbirth, He will grant these to tzaddikim. And Midrash Tanchuma Va'eira 22, Bamidbar Rabbah 14 and Zohar Vol. 1, 45b: "See how beloved tzaddikim are to Hashem, for whatever they do and decree, Hashem confirms it and fulfills it." And Shabbat 59b: "The tzaddik decrees, and Hakadosh Barukh Hu fulfills." And Moed Katan 16b: "I rule man. Who rules me? The tzaddik! For I make a decree and he can annul it." Et. al.