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Folktales

Honi Story

First of all his name is Chony and not Honi, (Pronounce the Ch like Ich in German or loch in Scotch. That's the way we pronounce it in Hebrew. You have to stress the second part cho-NY and not CHO-ni).

He lived in The Land of Israel in the first century before Christ in the years of the wise Shimon Ben Shatach and the king Yanay and the queen Shlomzion.

He and his family were known as "rain bringers". There are two famous legends about him. The first one how he brought the rain: He told every one to take home their Passover earth oven (so it will not be crumbed by rain) and then, circling a circle around himself he declared "I'll not go out till God give me my request"

So first time some drops fell from heaven.

He said: "No. It is not what I asked for!" Then a whole flood came down.

He said: "No, I want a normal rain!" and only then came the normal rain.

Then the great Rabin of that time, Rabi Shimon Ben Shatach sent to call him and said: "I had to excommunicate you because you dared to speak with God in such a way, but what can I do You are Chony and you are like a son for God and He gives you what ever you want!"

 

The second story is about his magic sleep for 70 years that you already know. There is a more realistic story about killing him because of political reasons.

Two of his grandsons are mentioned also in our sources. One is Chanan HaNechba (Chanan that hides himself) The legend says that children used to come to him and ask: "Father give us rain!" and he used to answer: "Ho my God, let them make the difference between father that cannot bring rains (me) and Father that can (God)!"

The other grandson Aba Chilkia, was known also as rain bringer. Once the Wise men came to him to ask him pray for rain. He foresees that they are coming. They came and did not find him at home. They went to the field and say shalom to him. He did not answer. They waited there the whole day till he finished his work. Then he collected wood and put the wood with his pick-axe on his shoulder and the Talit on the other shoulder. He took off his shoes and put it on only when he crossed the river. When he passed through thrones field he took his clothes up. Coming home, his wife came out with all her jewels. She entered first to the house and then he. He gave two pieces of food to his younger son and one piece to the oldest. Then he said to his wife: "I know that they came to ask for rains. Let both of us pray God to bring rain."

They went to the roof and asked for rain, He in one corner and she in the other corner. And the rain came from her side. He said to them: "Well it is rainy so you don't need me." They said: "We know that is because of you. Now tell us Why did you not answer us in the field?" "I am a hired daily worker. I cannot waste his time chattering."

Why did you put the wood on the other shoulder and not on the Talit? "Because it is not mine. I rented it for prayer not for other use."

"Why did you put shoes only when you crossed the river?" "I save them. I use them only in places where I cannot see."

"And why did you put up your clothes when passing in a field full of thrones?"

"My legs will be cured but my clothes if they hurt I cannot cure them."

"Why did your wife come out ornamented?

"So I will not put my eyes on other women."

"Why did your wife come in first?"

"Because I don't know you. I cannot trust you."

"Why did you give the young two pieces?"

"This one stays at home, the other one goes to study in the school"

"Why the rain came from your wife corner?" "Because when I give charity I give money but my wife gives food, so the needed one can enjoy her present before mine"

 

If you need more details you can find them in the English translation of "Sefer Ha- Agada of Bialik and Ravnitski", Shoken press.