Beis Tammuz, 5776
Reish Lakish to the Rescue
The great Sage Reish Lakish had once lived among the wild people called Loddites.
Known for his bravery and prowess, the Loddites wanted him to be the leader of one of their fierce robber bands. Reish Lakish, however, was destined for greater things.
He fled from those wicked people and changed his life completely, becoming a great baal teshuva and dedicating his tremendous intellect and power to the study of Torah.
He married the sister of Rabbi Yochanan, the greatest Sage of the time, and excelled so much at his learning that he was appointed to a high position in the yeshiva at Tiberias.
Although Reish Lakish now spent all his days and nights in the study hall, he had lost none of his fire and strength. He feared no one but G-d, and would stand up to deceit or corruption whenever he encountered it, no matter what danger he had to face.
One morning, as Rabbi Yochanan walked to the Study Hall, he was attacked by a band of robbers who stole all his money. When he finally arrived at the Study Hall he was very shaken by the incident, and, although he tried to lead the class as usual, he was unable to concentrate on the questions his students posed. It became obvious that the great Sage was troubled by something.
Noticing that his teacher was deeply troubled, Reish Lakish pressed Rabbi Yochanan for an explanation. "What is wrong? Has something happened to you?" Rabbi Yochanan answered by way of a hint, saying, "The whole body depends on the heart, but the heart depends on the pocket." Reish Lakish didn't understand his teacher's allusion, and he repeated his question.
This time Rabbi Yochanan explained clearly, "I can't gather my thoughts because as I was coming to study today, I was set upon by a band of robbers. I was carrying a great deal of money, and they stole it all. Now I will have to spend my energy trying to support myself and my family, and I'm afraid I won't be able to learn Torah as I did before."
Reish Lakish was outraged. "Where did they attack you and which way did they go?" he demanded to know. They went out to the road and Rabbi Yochanan pointed to the location of the attack. Not bothering to bring any weapons, Reish Lakish set out to find the robbers.