Shmuel was a successful jewel merchant, and had once been poor, but as a person really connected to Hashem, he didn’t change his devotion, and remained as committed as he was before. The following story confirmed this.

One Friday night, as Shmuel was enjoying the Shabbos seuda with his family, the servant suddenly announced that a messenger from the governor was waiting to meet with Shmuel on an urgent matter[1]. Now the governor and Shmuel were on very good terms; in fact the governor was a good customer of Shmuel’s. Shmuel instructed that the guest be shown to his private study. The messenger first apologized for disturbing the peaceful Shabbos atmosphere, but explained that his master was entertaining important guests, and he needed to buy some very fine jewelry at once to be given as gifts the next morning.

Shmuel responded that it was Shabbos and he would not do any business until Shabbos ended.

The visitor returned to the governor, and Shmuel returned to his seat at the table. Shmuel’s family members were anxious and worried about the unexpected visit, but Shmuel’s calm demeanor helped calm them.

Immediately following benching the governor’s messenger was once again announced, and Shmuel met him in his study, and this time in a more serious tone the messenger offered Shmuel the business, but warned that if he refused there would be quite serious consequences.

Shmuel responded by explaining to the messenger that in spite of his appreciation to the governor for their good relations, he owes his commitment first to Hashem, and he will therefore heed the G-d given laws of Shabbos above all else.

By this time Shmuel’s family members were quite worried, but not Shmuel. He shared with his anxious family the sequence of events, and encouraged them to not fear the outcome, because no harm will befall them as a result of keeping the Shabbos holy.

Immediately after havdala, the governor’s messenger returned, and ordered Shmuel to appear before the governor at once. Arriving at the palace, Shmuel was pleasantly surprised at the warm welcome he received from the governor.

“Your Jewish stubbornness has made me quite rich and very happy,” the governor began. He explained that there had been many important princes from various nearby countries who convened in his palace, and among the discussions the topic of the Yidden came up. “One prince in particular spoke very negatively about Yidden, about how money hungry they are and that they aren’t really devoted to their religion, to which I vehemently protested. We decided to make a bet as to who was right, and a huge sum of money was decided upon on which to bet.

The rest you already know and it is obvious that because you stood strong in your devotion to your laws, I won the bet. I would like to apologize again for the disturbing the Shabbos atmosphere, and I do want to purchase all of the items that I ordered on Shabbos, whereas now it is much more affordable due to my winning the bet.”

[1] The Storyteller Vol.5 page 3

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