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One day, while Shloimele was sitting in his secluded corner,
a man approached him. The little boy gaped at the strange
looking man, at his long black clothing and the black yarmulka
on his head. Yet, the man in no way resembled Reb Mendel. The
man spoke to Shloimele, but Shloimele did not understand a
word he said.

The man sat down next to Shloimele. He spoke more loudly
and deliberately, gesticulating with his hands as he spoke, but
still, Shloimele did not understand him.

Suddenly, Reb Mendel appeared beside them. He spoke to
the man in the same strange language that Shloimele did not

"Good afternoon, sir," he said. "Can I help you?"

"How do you do?" replied the man, standing up to his full
lanky height and extending his hand. "I am Father Zbigniew
Mzlateslavski. I am the new priest of this parish. You must be Reb
Mendel, the rabbi. I hear you're a famous Talmudic scholar. Your
Talmud fascinates me. Maybe I can come over sometimes when I
am having difficulty with some passage and you can clarify it for

The priest did not wait for the astonished Rav's reply. He
continued, "And this, I assume, is the celebrated Shloimele. I have
heard so much about him. What a perfect, beautiful child he is!
How fortunate you are to have such a son! But he doesn't seem to
be too friendly. I was speaking to him just now, and he didn't
answer me."

Reb Mendel smiled. "Don't be offended. He doesn't understand
the Polish language. The only language he understand;
is Yiddish."

"Why don't you teach him Polish?" the priest asked. "A boy
like this is very rare indeed. With his Heaven-sent talents there is
no limit to what he could accomplish if only you would let him
broaden his horizons. Why keep him locked up only among the
Jewish people?"

"Our Torah provides the broadest horizons even here in
Pulichev," Reb Mendel said coldly. "Shloimele's Heaven-sent
talents will be put to the best use, I assure you. There will be
plenty of time for him to learn

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