Love of the Land

For the week ending 15 March 2003 / 11 Adar II 5763

Nikanor and the Miracle Gates

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
The Color of HeavenArtscroll

A fierce storm threatened to sink the ship on which Nikanor was bringing a pair of beautiful bronze gates for the Beis Hamikdash from the Egyptian city of Alexandria. Seeking to lighten the vessels load, the crew cast one of these heavy gates overboard.

Since this failed to calm the sea they intended to do the same with the other gate. Nikanor clasped the remaining gate to him and asked to be cast away together with it. At this point the waves suddenly subsided, but left Nikanor distraught over the loss of the first gate.

When the ship arrived at the Port of Akko there was the missing gate! One version is that it had clung to the bottom of the ship. Another is that a sea monster swallowed it and regurgitated it on dry land. In any case, these gates were duly installed and were the only ones in the Beit Hamikdash not plated with gold, in order to recall the miracle that took place in connection with them.

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