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Haughtiness Was His Downfall

Because of the haughtiness of the Kohain Gadol, Yissaschar, a loud lamentation was heard in the Beit HaMikdash (Holy Temple), "Go forth from here, Yissaschar, the man of the village Barkai, who honors and thinks so much of himself that he desecrates the holiness of G-d."

What acts of haughtiness did he do? When he had to offer a sacrifice to G-d he would wrap silk gloves around his hands so as not to soil them and then he would perform the Divine services. When questioned about this he would say, "My hands have just been cleaned. I wouldn't think of soiling them with these unclean animals."

Divine retribution came very soon. One day the king and queen completed a sumptuous repast and the question of which was the better meat arose. The king said that the meat of a goat was far superior.

"There is nothing as good as the meat of a goat", declared the king, "and I will order the chef to serve us this meat only."

"You are wrong," replied the queen. "Nothing compares to sheep's meat. It is a thousand times better than that of a goat."

The Kohain Gadol to Decide

"I have an idea," said the king. "We will call in Yissaschar of the village Barkai, the Kohain Gadol, and we will let him decide which meat is better. He should know because of the many sacrifices he offers every day. There is no better expert in this field than he."

When the Kohain Gadol appeared, the question was put to him as to which meat was better, and he became annoyed. He thought to himself, "The king has a lot of nerve to ask me, the high priest, such a mundane question. He could have asked this question of the many lowly priests who are beneath my station. He must take me for a fool:"

Turning to the king, the Kohain Gadol pointed his hand at him in scorn and in a haughtily tone said, "If a goat were the best meat it would have been used for the daily sacrifice instead of the lambs that are used. Apparently, you know nothing about meat"

The King Is Angered

When the Queen heard this she iumped up and clapped her hands in joy, exclaiming, “See, I am right, even the Kohain Gadol agrees with me!”

The king became enraged at the arrogance of the Kohain Gadol in speaking so impudently. "Because you showed no respect for the throne in waving your hands at me," said the king, "I do hereby order that your right hand be cut off."

Yissaschar became frightened and as he was being led away he said to the executioner, "I will pay you a 100 gold pieces if you will not touch my right hand."

The executioner looked at him with scorn. "Do you think I am a fool?" he said. "If the king hears about it, he'll have my head removed."

"No, I didn't mean not to take off my hand entirely," replied the Kohain Gadol. "I meant, do not cut off my right hand, which I need, but instead take off my left hand. I have more use for my right hand than for my left hand."

The executioner agreed and instead of cutting off his right hand he removed the left one. A few days later, when the king was informed as to how Yissaschar bribed the executioner, he became furious.

"The scoundrel, the very nerve of this man," the king shouted. He thereupon issued another order. "Cut off his right hand, so he will have no hands!"

Yissaschar was led again before the executioner and his right hand was removed.

When all Israel heard of this they remarked that he had received Divine punishment for his haughty behavior.

One of the sages, Rabi Joseph, said, "Blessed be the L-rd who caused Yissaschar, the man of the village Barkai, to receive his due recompense in this world and he will now have atoned for his sins."

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