The Unexpected Visitor


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Long long ago there lived a man by the name Plimo. Plimo was a man of wisdom, very well read and was quite popular in his city. People who knew Plimo, praised his intelligence and regarded him as a man of action. Otherwise a good man, Plimo had a habit to boast and he bragged almost every day how none, even Satan, could ever subjugate him. "An arrow in your eye, Satan!" he often said this before his friends and family members.

One year, on Erev Yom Kippur, Plimo did not go out to work and was piously making the preparations for Yom Kippur at his home. All members of his family, including himself, had taken the "mikvah", dressed up in white clothes and were getting ready to sit down to dine before going to the synagogue to hear the Kol Nidre. Plimo's wife was laying delicious foods on the table when there was a knock at the door.

Plimo opened the door to find a poor beggar standing outside his house. The wretched creature had ugly sores all over his body and was bent with exhaustion and pain. Sadness was written all over his face and the blackened lips in his bearded face parted to mumble in a feeble voice:

"Have mercy on me good man. Please give me some food. I had nothing to eat for more than a day."

"Sure, just wait here". said Plimo. He went in and came out again quickly to hand a piece of bread to the man.

But the beggar was not satisfied. "Shall you not call me inside?" he said "On such a day, when everyone is dining at home, why should I stay out?"

Plimo hesitated. He had only a few hours to go for the prayer and what if the man created problems and took much more time to eat? But he remembered the holy commandment to feed the hungry. Plimo reluctantly called the beggar inside and returned to his table to dine with his family.

The man sat down and removed his shawl which revealed his ugly sores, many of which appeared to burst. Black flies flied around them, and the man waved his hands now and again to disperse the insects. Plimo's wife and kids were much disturbed at the sight. Plimo himself lost his appetite but encouraged his family to eat on.

"It is not good to keep a hungry man outside. Besides, he will soon be gone". said he.

But the beggar started to behave very improperly. He made ugly noises and spat out here and there.

"Hey" shouted Plimo, "Behave yourself man. This is a house, not some road if you think it is".

But the beggar paid no heed. The bread seemed to give him some strength. "Bring me some wine. I'll go away." he said firmly to Plimo.

A cup of wine was served to the man. He took a sip and began to cough. Then he spat right into the cup.

"You be damned. Now see what you have done, you shameless wretched fellow" shouted Plimo. As he got up from his seat, the man rolled over the floor with a violent cough and fell flat on his face. Plimo shook the man by his shoulder but the poor creature was as still as a stone. He seemed to be dead.

As a shocked Plimo tried to gather his senses, his wife started crying loudly out of fear. Soon a crowd was inside Plimo's house. Many began to exclaim, "Plimo has killed a man, Plimo has killed a poor beggar!"

A terrified Plimo began to run. After sometime, he came near a bathhouse and took refuge inside it.

A little while later, he heard someone coming. Soon he was face-to-face with the beggar. Plimo fell to the ground before him.

Then the man revealed his true identity to Plimo. He disclosed that he was actually Satan.

"Now tell me why did you say..." said Satan in a mocking tone "An arrow in your eye, Satan!"

"Then what should I say?" Plimo responded.

"You should say," said the man before him ‘May the Merciful Lord punish Satan.’"

Any one can come to harm, just when it is least expected.


~ from Kiddushin 81a-81b

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