About King Artaban of Persia, who was very friendly with Rabbi Yehuda Hanasi, the following story is told: Once, the king sent Rabbi Hanasi the gift of a precious gem as an expression of the high regard in which he held him. In return, Rabbi Yehuda Hanasi sent the king a gift of his own: a large, beautiful mezuzah.

The king, who did not understand the value of a mezuzah, was insulted. “I sent you something very precious,” he said. “But what did you send me in return? A mezuzah that you could buy for very little money!”

Rabbi Yehuda Hanasi replied, “Indeed, you sent me a priceless gift, and I will have to hire guards. However, what is special about the present that I sent you is the fact that it looks after you! For this reason, it is beyond value!”

Sometime after this, the king’s daughter became very ill and it was impossible to find a cure. At that time, King Artaban remembered the mezuzah that Rabbi Hanasi had sent him and he put it up in the doorway of his daughter’s room. Amazingly, the girl recovered from her illness within a short time and regained her health. This surely teaches you the power of a mezuzah!

Previously published in The Rebbe’s Mivtzoyim, vol. 1, p. 142. Originally from Yerushalmi, Peah, 1a. She’altot Ekev, p. 145.

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