So Yochanan was thrown into prison for political agitation, and Jesus
returned to Galilee to preach the message of repentance and the coming
of the Kingdom of Heaven. He went about preaching in the synagogues of
the towns and villages of Galilee, and at last he came to Kfar-Nachum.
Word spread all over Galilee that Herod had had Yochanan imprisoned,
and the mood of the people was restless. For as much as Yochanan was
loved by the people, the Herodians were equally as hated as
collaborators and conspiritors with the Romans against their own Jewish
people. And Yochanan's imprisonment had dashed the hopes of many who
were hoping that he might be the Promised one.
The lake was calm that day and the sun shone full in the sky where there
was not even the hint of any cloud. Simon and Andrew were readying their
boat, to cast off for what was promising to be a bountifull day for the
Andrew saw him first. A solitary figure in the distance, walking along
the beach towards them. He touched Simon lightly on the arm and when
Simon looked at him, he nodded in the direction of the approaching man.
The sun was off to Simon's left but the glare of it was sufficient
enough to make him shade his eyes and he could only see a figure coming
forward but could not make ou tany details. As the man came very close
he waved in greeting, "SHALOM ALECHEM, my brothers; may Heaven grant you
a good day and a good catch."
Andrew returned the greeting, "VA'ALECHEM SHALOM brother, how goes it
with an Israelite?". He smiled cordially at the stranger. Simon, who had
been staring at the man all the while he approached, now saw his face
clearly, and he smiled and extended his hand. The man took hold of it
warmly and grasped it in greeting.
"So, Adoni, you have returned from the dessert, I see, safe and sound,
The man smiled and nodded.
"And did you encounter Satan there, my lord?", Simon asked, half
jokingly and half seriously.
"Indeed I did", the man answered smilingly, a smile that was mixed with
good humor and friendly animation.
Andrew, who had not had the presence of mind to speak during this first
surprised moment of meeting, composed himself and said to Simon:
"Brother, this is a friend and you do not introduce me to him?"
Simon turned to Andrew. "Forgive me brother, this is Jesus. He is from
"Ah, a good town with good people. I know it well", Andrew said
respectfully, shaking hands with Jesus who gave him a warm smile.
"But tell me", he continued, "Not the famous Jesus who followed Yochanan
and now is the talk of all of Galilee? THE same Jesus who preaches
mightily in our synagogues the good news of the coming redemption, and
heals all manner of sickness among our good people?"
Jesus blushed and laughed. "May I join you two for a while?", he asked.
But even before they replied, he was sitting down on a rock beside where
the two men were working.
"Gladly" said Simon while Andrew simply nodded, not even aware that he
was staring at Jesus like an awestruck child.
Simon approached and sat down at Jesus' feet, and smiled up at him. "It
is good to see you again, sir. Now you must tell me how it goes with you
and about what happened when you left me to go into that dread
wilderness", he asked. "And did you indeed encounter the Enemy?"
Jesus smiled and nodded.
Simon returned the smile. "Well then, my lord, I take it that when Satan
accosted you in the dessert, you did not yield to his defilement, and
that you have indeed become that pure vessel which you saught to
Again Jesus smiled, without uttering a word.
"Tell me now, Adoni", Simon continued, "What did you learn there in that
Jesus answered, "I learned that it is not necessary for one to prove
himself through miraculous displays. If he is indeed a master - then his
servants will know him and follow him gladly, and without signs."
Andrew, who had up to tihs time, remained silent, asked in his
puzzlement, "How is that, sir?"
Jesus turned from Simon and looked at Andrew. "Do we not read in the
TORAH how Moses performed wonderous miracles in the sight of the people,
and yet did they not pay homage to a golden calf?"
Both Simon and Andrew were looking at him, enrapt by his words and his
presence. They nodded silently.
Jesus continued. "And did not both Elijah and his disciple Elisha raise
the dead, and yet the people did not learn anything from these
"Yes", Simon answered softly.
"Well then", Jesus continued, if they would not hearken to Moses after
he displayed the miraculous power of HASHEM, and if they would not
hearken to Elijah who raised the dead, how can *I* expect that our
people will follow ME, even if I myself should perform so great a
miracle? Do not the people even of my own city say, 'Is not this the
carpenter, the son of Miryam, the brother of Yakov, and Yosi, and of
Yehudah, and Shimon? And are not his sisters here with us?' I tell you
that a prophet is not without honour, but in his own country, and among
his own townsfolk. Thus I could do no mighty work there. And so I
departed and went round about the villages, preaching the coming of
G-d's Kingdom, even as did Yochanan, that great man whom Herod has laid
hands on, but I tell you, the day of reckoning shall come upon all those
who fight against HASHEM. But as to the people, I bring a message of
hope of salvation and redemption. Only I pray that they have faith in
Heaven, for Satan so tempted me in that he lied to me, saying do this
miracle and do that miracle, and thou shalt be a king."
smiled anew and continued. "Yet I withstood him - for I am already a
king, and my heavenly Father shall give me a kingdom which will endure
forever, and they who are my servants shall rule with me and judge the
Andrew looked quickly at Simon, and his look said that the man before
them was beside himself but Simon shook his head and smiled.
Then he said to Jesus, "Adoni, my master, tell us then who you are."
Jesus answered, "Like Yochanan, I am the voice of one crying in the
wilderness to the House of Israel to prepare themsleves for the Kingdom
Then Simon asked, "And am I still to be the foundation stone of your
Jesus nodded, "Yes, Kefa, if you choose to follow me."
Andrew turned to Jesus and asked him, "Why do you call my brother,
Jesus rose now and looked out upon the lake, beautiful and calm in the
early morning, that time of day when things are as yet unpolluted by the
events of humanity. He turned to Andrew.
"Andrew, see how peacefull Kinneret it. Would that the world would be as
peacefull as the Lake always, but I do not come to bring peace now, but
a sword, for there shall be those who fight against G-d Himself, and in
our holy struggle, your brother may be a mighty warrior for the
sanctification of the Name of the G-d of Israel. And though he be
subjected to weakness, still in the end he shall prove to have the
strength of the foundation stone of the Temple. Therefore shall his name
When Jesus saw that Andrew remained in embarrassed silence, not knowing
what to respond, he said, "Now Andrew, do not look so perplexed. In
time, all will be revealed. Now I konw that you and Simon are set to
sail out on the Lake and if it is no inconvenience, I should like to
accompany you in the boat."
"Not at all, sir. And excuse my rudeness. Of course you may come with
Then the three of them entered the boat and set out to fish that
Once they had been out on the Lake awhile, Simon and Andrew had a chance
to talk while they went about their business with the nets, and Jesus
sat at the bow looking out upon the Lake. Simon related to his brother
the events that had taken place by the Jordan that he had gone to be
immersed by Yochanan, how he had seen Jesus emerge from the water when
the dove came down, seemingly from out of nowhere, and alit on his
shoulder, how Jesus had approached him and asked if he might join him
under the tree, the conversation they had had. Andrew listened without
interrupting, his interest and curiosity growing with each word. "But
tell me, brother", he asked when Simon was through speaking, "Who
exactly is this Jesus from Nazareth?"
"I am not sure", Simon answered, "but when he came over to me and sat
down, I could swear that I had seen him somewhere before, that we had
spoken before that day, but for the life of me, I could not remember,
and I still cannot remember where or when, and surely if we HAD met
before, I should have remembered. After all, Andrew, you must admit that
brother Jesus is not a man people readily forget."
"No, certainly not", Andrew quickly agreed. "Perhaps you had some
precogniscience of him; perhaps in some dream you had seen him. If he is
a holy man (and such he seems), it could be that he was revealed to you
for some purpose."
"Yes", Simon nodded, "but for what end? I do not understand some of the
things that he says. This talk about him being a king is a mystery to
me. Sometimes he sounds like a madman and I do not wish to offend him,
and so I do not press him; but at other times, Andrew, I tell you I get
a wonderfull feeling when he speaks to me, a feeling which I cannot
understand. Yet he must be a person of note; he appears to have much
learning, and he IS a friend of the Immerser; when they met in the
waters of the Jordan, it seemed that they knew eacj other quite well.
AND, Andrew, do not forget that his reputation as a preacher and a
healing man has preceded him all over Galilee. It is just that he has a
strange way of speaking some times, as though in riddles. And look, see
how I speak about him, as though I had known him for years, and the
truth is that we only met once before."
Andrew nodded. "It is that way with some men, they are very strong,
filled with a spirit of holiness, and they have the power to make us
share the spirit by their very presence, and then we do not even
question what has overcome us, we rest in their presence and feel that
we are in the midst of a special moment. Your friend, brother Jesus,
makes me feel that way. He is zealous yet at the same time serene. I
like him. Tell me, Simon, does he not make you feel that if you DID
follow him, you would become part of some great destiny?"
"Aye, I do", Simon answered. "But at the same time, I am afraid. I am
only a simple, unlearned man who has wanted nothing but the freedom and
wellbeing of Israel; I look forward to HASHEM's complete redemption as
does any Jew; I leave the 'great destinies' to men more worthy than I."
"There are men who have received a call and their humility has made them
feel unworthy, and THESE are the MOST worthy", he heard the voice behind
him speaking. He turned and saw Jesus standing behind him. Neither he
nor Andrew had been aware that the Nazarethite had moved from the bow
where he had been sitting.
"Please forgive him, brothers", Jesus appologized, "I do not mean to
eavesdrop or pry into your talk but I DID overhear what you said and it
moved me, your humility and sincerity. Simon! Andrew! Do you not realize
that G-d uses the humble of the earth to be His spokesmen? Did He not
choose Moses who our TORAH tells us was the meekest man that lived? Did
He not choose David the lowly shepherd? For He raises the lowly out of
the dust to seat them with princes, as the psalmist says."
Jesus smiled upon them as he spoke and they were completely captivated
by his warmth that their hearts went out to him.
Simon grasped his hand. "Brother Jesus, tonight is SHABBAT. I do not
know if you have made arrangements for SHABBAT here in Kfar-Nachum, but
please, if you have not, would you honor our house by being our SHABBAT
guest. We have already caught much, I do not understand. We have hardly
been out an hour and the very fish of the Lake seem to have jumped into
the nets. See how heavy they are. We shall return to shore and I shall
inform my wife that we have a guest. Only say the word. Will you abide
Jesus put his arms around the two brothers. "Nothing would make me
happier than to share the holy Sabbath with my Galilean brothers, good
men and true to the G-d of Israel."
Both Simon and Andrew were overjoyed that the holy man had consented to
share their humble home hospitality for SHABBAT. They set sail to return
to shore; Andrew and Jesus to make the boat fast and deliver the fish,
and Simon to run home and tell his wife that a special guest would be
staying for SHABBAT.
The next day, at noon, Jesus, Andrew, and Simon returned from synagogue,
expecting to enjoy the wonderfull SHABBAT meal that Simon's wife had
prepared, remembering the wonderfull meal from the nigth before. Simon's
wife had prepared the house for the Sabbath. The candles were set in the
middle of the table, illuminating the house with SHABBAT light. The wine
and the CHALLAH had been set out on the table by the children who had
also set out the dishes. Simon had aksed Jesus to recite the KIDDUSH,
the sanctification of SHABBAT said over a cup of wine. Holding the cup
in his hands, Jesus opened his mouth, and in a voice most beuatiful, he
"And the evening and the morning were the sixth day. Thus the heavens
and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the
seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the
seventh day from all his work which he had made. And God blessed the
seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from
all his work which God created and made."
Then Simon gave his children the parental blessing for Sabbath
Eve. Placing his open hands upon their heads, each in turn, he said:
"The Lord bless thee, and keep thee: The Lord make his face shine upon
thee, and be gracious unto thee: The Lord lift up his countenance
upon thee, and give thee peace."
Then he sang to his wife, the song of the valorous woman that each
Jewish husband sings to his wife on Sabbath eve:
"Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies. The
heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have
no need of spoil. She will do him good and not evil all the days of
her life. She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her
hands. She is like the merchants'ships; she bringeth her food from
afar. She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her
household, and a portion to her maidens. She considereth a field, and
buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard. She
girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms. She
perceiveth that her merchandise is good: her candle goeth not out by
night. She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the
distaff. She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth
forth her hands to the needy. She is not afraid of the snow for her
household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet. She maketh
herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple. Her
husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of
the land. She maketh fine linen, and selleth it; and delivereth
girdles unto the merchant. Strength and honour are her clothing; and
she shall rejoice in time to come. She openeth her mouth with wisdom;
and in her tongue is the law of kindness. She looketh well to the
ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness. Her
children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he
praiseth her. Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest
them all. Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that
feareth the Lord, she shall be praised. Give her of the fruit of her
hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates."
The meal having been eaten, Simon again invited Jesus to lead the Grace
After Meals. Offering their prayers pf thanksgiving, they retired. The
sweetness of the evening was only marred when, after they had retired,
Simon's wife's mother complained to her daughter that she was
experiencing a slight fever and asked for some water to be placed beside
The men had left early for morning prayers, and when they entered the
house, Simon's wife told him that his mother had taken a turn for the
worse during the night, and that she was tossing and turnig with
delerium from the fever. At once, Jesus asked to be permitted to see
her. Simon, having heard that Jesus also had fame as a healer, he
brought him into his mother-in-law's room.
"Permit me to approach her", Jesus asked Simon's wife, who was bending
over her mother, administering a cool cloth to her head. She backed away
from the bed, allowing Jesus to tend to her. Jesus looked at her and
immediately turned to the others in the room, saying, "She has the fever
of the Mediterranean (Brucellosis)." He placed his hand upon the woman's
brow and suddenly she relaxed and stopped moving. "She will sleep a
bit", he said to them, "and she shall be well soon." He then bid them to
begin the Sabbath lunch meal.
After they had eaten the main course,and while they were singing the
special ZEMIROS, or songs for SHABBAT, Jesus arose and went into the
sick woman's room again. Her eyes were opn and she was breathing
normally. Jesus approached the bed and spoke to her, "SHABBAT SHALOM",
he said, smiling. She returned the greeting, "SHABBAT SHALOM, Adoni."
Taking her by the hand, he helped her rise from the bed. "Come and join
us for the Sabbath meal now", he smiled. And so saying, he led her into
the dining room where all present looked upon agape, hardly believing
that this same woman had just shortly before been struck with a fever so
severe that she could not remain conscious. "SHABBAT SHALOM", she said
to all of them.
Later that night, after the HAVDALLAH which separates the Sabbath from
the profane week, Jesus stood outside the house looking up at the stars.
Simon and Andrew came out to speak to him.
"SHAVUA TOV, a good new week", he said to them.
"SHAVUA TOV", they returned.
Jesus looked at Simon and said, "Will you now be that rock of which I
spoke? Will you follow me as that master of which you spoke down at the
"I will, my lord", Simon replied unhesitatingly.
"Even though you know that your end with me may be KIDDUSH HASHEM, the
ultimate sacrifice?", Jesus asked.
Simon nodded, "Even then, Adoni. For you are my teacher, and a holy man
in Israel. I shall follow as a disciple and servant if you desire."
Jesus nodded. "I do desire it, Kefa."
"And you Andrew?", he looked at Simon's brother.
"I too", Andrew answered, "although I do not know what road we will
travel, I know that you are HASHEM's messenger in Israel, and I follow,
if you will have me."
Jesus smiled. "Yes, I will."
The three men then stood there silently, in the quiet afterglow of the
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