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The Snake in the Wall
Talmud, Shabbat 156b
PrintE-mail Discuss (6) Rabbi Akiva had a daughter. But astrologers said to him, “On the day she enters the bridal chamber, a snake will bite her and she will die.”
On the night of her marriage, she removed a brooch and stuck it into the wall. When she pulled it out the following morning, a poisonous snake came trailing after it; the pin had penetrated into the eye of the serpent.
“Was there anything special that you did yesterday?” her father asked her.
“A poor man came to our door in the evening,” she replied. “Everybody was busy at the banquet, and there was none to attend to him. So I took the portion of food which was given to me, and gave it to him.”
Thereupon Rabbi Akiva went out and declared: “Charity delivers from death.1 And not just from an unnatural death, but from death itself.”
1. Proverbs 10:2.