The Magic Mirror of Rabbi Adam

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Rabbi Adam had a magic mirror that once belonged to King David. It permitted him to see things that took place all over the world. He watched over his fellow Jews in the mirror. One day he saw that an innocent Jew in a certain city was in mortal danger. Rabbi Adam decided to help, mounted his horse and through a magic spell enabled the horse to fly so that they arrived in that city within an hour. Rabbi Adam found the city overcrowded with people and animals. When he asked why, he was told that for two weeks of every year merchants came from all corners of the land to sell their wares on "Market Days" and they lived all the year on what they made in those two weeks.

Rabbi Adam went to a tavern and predicted that the merchant sitting next to him would be killed in four hours. The merchant thought the rabbi to be mad and talking nonsense; his friends agreed and laughed. An hour later, the rabbi told the merchant he had only three hours left. Again, everyone laughed. The merchant returned to the market; the rabbi followed and warned him that there were only two hours left. The merchant feared the rabbi himself would kill him and the next time the rabbi came, the merchant grabbed him, demanding to know who was going to kill him. The rabbi told him there was a plot to kill him and he had come to save him from the grave. The merchant feared for his life and asked what to do. The rabbi told the merchant to follow him, which he did.

They walked to an inn where the rabbi asked the innkeeper how much he earned in a day; the answer was 20 silver shekels. The rabbi gave the innkeeper 20 silver shekels and asked him to close the inn for the rest of the day, which was done. Rabbi Adam then requested that a bathtub be brought into the merchant's room and filled with water, and he then demanded that the merchant get into the tub, which he did. The rabbi held up his magic mirror and asked the merchant to tell him what he saw. The terrified merchant said he saw his wife sitting with a sorcerer, eating, drinking, hugging and kissing by a table with a bow and arrow. Rabbi Adam revealed that they were plotting the merchant's death and the danger was great because of the sorcerer's evil powers. Further, the sorcerer was about to shoot an arrow from the bow that would guide it to the merchant's heart to kill him, after which his wife and sorcerer would marry, no one the wiser. But God would help the merchant stop this evil plan.

Upon a second look, the merchant saw the sorcerer prepare to shoot the arrow. He was instructed that as soon as the arrow was shot, he was to put his head under water in the bathtub and hold it there until the arrow passed by him without harm. He did so and when the hiss of the arrow passed by, the rabbi told the merchant to lift his head. Once again the merchant looked in the magic mirror and saw his wife in a black mood and the sorcerer livid with rage. When the merchant saw the sorcerer shoot a second arrow, he did the same thing and was saved once more. And again he saw the enraged sorcerer prepare to shoot another arrow. The rabbi instructed him to submerge himself into the water but this time extend the little finger of your right hand out of the water. As the merchant did so, he felt a terrible pain in his finger, but he was still alive. Another look in the mirror showed his wife and the sorcerer rejoicing because they believed him to be killed since the arrow hit his finger and had not passed through the inn.

Rabbi Adam allowed the merchant to get out of the water and get dressed, but warned him the danger was not over. He told the merchant that after the merchant days were over the next day and he returned to his city, he was not to go to his own house, but instead to the house of his relatives where he was to live in secret. In three weeks he was to go to the market and stay there until the sorcerer saw him. He was then to go up to the sorcerer and truthfully answer any question asked, including telling him about the rabbi. The rabbi instructed the merchant to inform the sorcerer that the rabbi was willing to test their powers against each other. The merchant was to set a time and place.

The merchant did as instructed and met the shocked sorcerer in the marketplace. The merchant revealed all that had happened with Rabbi Adam and the meeting between Rabbi Adam and the sorcerer was to take place in the sorcerer's home. The confident sorcerer invited all the nobles in the land to witness him defeat Rabbi Adam. When the day came, the drunken nobles taunted the rabbi, who told them he did not perform magic, but trusted in God, whose powers had never failed him. The angered nobles urged the sorcerer to begin at once.

The sorcerer brought out an empty bowl which he filled with water, then passed his staff over it and the water disappeared. After everyone looked at the empty bowl, he passed his staff the other direction over it and the water returned. Challenged to perform the same feat, the rabbi passed his hand over the water in the bowl and it disappeared, as everyone saw, but when he passed his hand over again the bowl filled with wine. The sorcerer turned pale with anger. He took a dove out of a cage and passed his staff over it, whereupon it collapsed and fell dead; when he reversed the move, the dove came back to life. The rabbi repeated the action, but when he returned the dove to life it flew around the room, landed on the table and laid an egg. A moment later, the egg hatched and a fledgling inside stretched its wings. The sorcerer's face filled with bitter hatred.

The sorcerer demanded that the rabbi leave the room while he performed his next wonder. The rabbi did so. The sorcerer turned his staff into a magnificent apple tree, then called Rabbi Adam in and challenged him to cause the tree to wither and become a staff once more. Rabbi Adam demanded that the sorcerer leave the room this time, which he did. The rabbi circled the tree seven times, remarking on how good the apples looked and how pleasant the tree. He spied an apple at the top of the tree and asked the chief noble to cut it down. The noble did so and gave the apple to the rabbi. As soon as he did this, the tree began to wither, the leaves fell off, the branches withdrew, the trunk shriveled and became the staff once again. But the beautiful apple remained in the rabbi's hand, as ripe as ever.

Rabbi Adam commanded that the sorcerer be brought back into the room, but in the outer room, a noble found the sorcerer's body in one corner and his head in another. The rabbi explained that anyone who performed magic put his life at risk, for every wonder created contained one weakness, which could be the undoing of the person who had cast the spell. In this case, it was the apple at the top of the tree that was the one weakness. The nobles debated whether Rabbi Adam had committed a crime by bringing about the death of the sorcerer. They decided that the sorcerer himself was the cause of his own death, and the rabbi left the nobles in peace with great honors bestowed upon him.

The merchant thanked Rabbi Adam for saving his life, but the rabbi told him to give thanks to God, for all great miracles come from Him. The merchant divorced his wife and forced her out of his house. She fasted and prayed and over time repented and eventually returned to God with her whole heart. God accepted her repentance, as He does with all sinners. But the evil sorcerer who sinned and led the woman into sin was lost and cut off from the earth for all time.