A Wise Man and His Son

This is an old story about a dying man. A man was getting old and there came a time when he had to die. He was a rich man, but his only son who could inherit his estate was in the far-away country to study. And his house was managed by one of his servant. The old man was always worried that his servant might squander all his money or stow away for himself after his death, leaving nothing for his son.

Finally, at his death bed, he told his servant, “I will give all my estate to you. Just make sure one thing: you must grant my son one thing whichever he might ask of you.” And the servant agreed to the old man. The servant worked harder than ever now because everything belonged to him. And he could increase the wealth of the old man abundantly. Long after the death of the old man, his only son came back home after finishing all his learning and he found out all the things belonged to his father were given to the servant and he was given only one thing from it.

He was bewildered and did not know what to do. So he asked the servant to give him a couple of days to think about it. And in the town there was a friend of his father and he was a very wise man. The son visited him to ask him for advice. He told everything that he found out about the will of his father. The wise man said, “Your father was a wise man, so there might be some reason for that.” After thinking about it for a long time, his face brightened up and shouted.

“Can you ask one thing from the servant and he must grant it whatever it might be, right?” “Yes,” said the son. “Then you must ask this and then your problem will be solved. Everything he has will be restored back to you.” Finally, the young man could receive all the things back from the servant and inherit his father’s estate.


wise man and his son
A Wise Man Tying Phylacteries to his Son


In Jewish law, whatever a servant owns actually belongs to his master; the servant has no possessions whatsoever.


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