"BENJAMYN'S WISH" (a short ancestral story)

BENJAMYN'S WISH (an ancestral reflection) by rabbi J. ben Avraham

This is a short story about my family's ancestry, mostly going back on my paternal grandmother's side, all names and places are true in accordance to my family history, yet part is fiction, read and enjoy, from a portion of my eBook "God Tales" section: (reminiscence of yesteryear );

It was early autumn in the year 1495 when John Benjamyn senior took his young son, also named John, to watch the ocean waves break onto the shores of Cornwall.

Out there to the West” said John to his son, pointing across the wide expanse of the Atlantic waters, “lies a new land. There must be many adventures awaiting those who have the courage to cross these waters.”

But father” replied young John a little surprised, “I thought the world was flat?”

Nay” said John Senior with a smile, “The navigator Christopher Columbus proved that the world is indeed round, why just three years ago he arrived to a new continent in three small ships sailing West across these same waters.”

really” replied his son somewhat amazed, “can it really be true?”

Yes son” said his father placing his arm around his son's shoulders, “even in Holy writ the Word of God says; “It is He who sits upon the circle of the earth” (Isaiah 40:22). “Someday I hope that one of our descendants will brave these waters and cross over into the new world. I also hope that from our family line will come a teacher of God's Word, to teach all those who would listen, yes, even there in that new world of unknown peoples, unknown to us but known to God.”

John Benjamyn and his son smiled at each other and embraced, sharing a wish, a prayer that would hopefully come true one day in future generations. The two stood there together gazing at the wide expanse of the ocean, an ocean that divided two continents which would one day join together in trade and commerce.

It came to pass that one hundred years later, the seed of the Benjamyn family brought forth a daughter whose name was Ann. One day Ann, with babe in arms, walked with her husband, John Ellis, to the same water's edge. Together they gazed across the great expanse of the sea and Ann shared the dream of her great-grandfather, John Benjamyn.

Goodwife Ann”, began her husband, “you will be happy to know that indeed, your family's wish will come true, for I have decided to sell our humble place and book passage on a ship that will take us to the new world, Yes, to the colonies of America.”

Oh, how wonderful, how exciting dear husband” replied Ann with joy, “Imagine the three of us in the new world, you, me, and our little Richard, making a new beginning, a new life, in a new world.”

John, Ann, and baby Richard in arms, embraced. They would begin a new life, face hardships together, in the British colonies of America.

It was a cold, mid-January morning in the year 1619 when the three boarded ship, bound for the colony in Massachusetts. Three months later, they disembarked

and settled near what would be known as Plimoth by next years frost. Eventually, the humble Ellis-Benjamyn family moved inland and built a permanent home in Water Town

. John and Ann shared their ancestor's dream with their son Richard who later became a wheelwright and a surveyor. He also joined the local militia which had its beginning with Capt Standish of the Mayflower.

In the year 1643, Richard Ellis officially joined the local Puritan church. One Sunday afternoon he met with the minister and shared his heart.

Thou teacheth well Holy Writ Reverend Walcott” began Richard, “and twas the desire of a great ancestor of mine, John Benjamyn, that from his seed might come forth one who would teach Holy Writ, just as thou doeth.”

Tis a goodly wish Goodman Richard, and tis an honor and great responsibility to teach from God's Word.” replied the minister. “Believest thou that the LORD has thus called thee for such a task? To learn and teach His Holy Scriptures?” questioned the good Reverend Walcott, somewhat surprised.

Nay” replied Richard sadly, slowly shaking his head, “I am a militiaman and a surveyor of these good lands. I have not the head for such holy matters, but perhaps, after me, such a descendant will be born from my seed, one who will indeed learn and teach the LORD's Holy Word.”

Yes” replied the Rev. Walcott as he placed his arm around Richard's shoulder,

Tis a noble task indeed to teach from Holy Writ, but many do not take heed to the truth of scripture, adhering instead to superstition.”

Ay” replied Richard sadly, “some here do indeed think upon things of devilry, and of seeing spectors of such types. May Providence guide one who would come after me to take up the noble task such as yours, to teach from the LORD's Word.”

Yes” said Reverend Walcott, “The LORD will indeed honor your ancestor's wish, someone will indeed come from your seed and will learn and teach the Words of God to all who would have ears to hear.”

And the years passed, and in 1692, when Richard Ellis was in his 73rd year of life, he happened to pass by the town of Salem and indeed, he witnessed the sad result of those who would follow superstition. There were those who cried out “witch” and others who fell victim to those cries of fear, and ended up on the hangman's noose.

80 years went by and the descendants of the Ellis-Benjamyn family grew in number. It was the 18th day of April in the year 1775, when Abijah Fisher, descendant of the Ellis and Benjamyn family, invited his good friend, the most reverend minister of Mystic Village Church, to his house to share conversation. It was late into the night and the two were still deep in words;

Did I tell you, dear Reverend, the wish and prayer of my great ancestor John Benjamyn?”

No, dear friend, you didn't, but say on and I will listen to your tale” replied the good parson of Mystic Village church.

So Abijah Fisher told the story of Benjamyn's wish, to have one who would come forth from his seed who would teach the Holy Scriptures, to all who would have ears to hear and heart to receive.

It is indeed a serious matter to teach God's Word” said the parson. “One must study hard and understand scripture, and thus convey God's message to the people.

It is indeed a calling of great value. What say you dear Abijah, do you feel you have this calling?”

Abijah Fisher thought about what the parson had just said. He sat down on the porch of his humble house, and the parson sat down next to him. They both sat there for a few minutes without speaking. Finally, Abijah lifted up his voice and spoke his honest reply.

I enjoy hearing you expound the word of God” began Abijah, “I have learned much from your messages, but for me, to teach God's word, that is another matter.

I think not that my mind could fathom such a matter. Perhaps one who will come after me will have that special calling dear reverend.”

Yes” replied the minister nodding his head, “there will come a descendent from your seed, which began with your ancestor John Benjamyn, who will be called by God to teach and expound His word. Such a prayer never goes unanswered, for the LORD hears from heaven and in His perfect timing, will raise up such a person.”

The two men nodded in agreement. In time, the wish, the prayer of John Benjamyn would come to pass. The two continued to talk, other issues came to mind; the state of affairs in the colonies, the unfair taxation, the housing of British soldiers and other things.

It was near midnight when the two men heard a noise coming from up the road, a noise of a galloping horse and its rider shouting something. As the horse and rider passed by the house, the two men stood up to get a better view of the fellow on his fast galloping steed. They heard the rider announce his warning;

The British are coming!” “The British are coming!”

So the years passed, and the generations of John Benjamyn came and went, and the family tree grew larger and larger. Now it came to pass that in the year 1895 a daughter was born to Thomas and Sarah Hughes. Their daughter's name was Willeta.

In time, Willeta came to marry Leonard Groh, whose ancestors came from Germany, and East Europe, many of who were Ashkenazi Jews. Leonard and Willeta also had a son who they named Leonard. Leonard Jr. married a lady named Mary Balabain, whose family came from Turkey. Leonard and Mary had three children; Christine, Bruce, and in 1954, their third child, James, was born.

James grew up and became known by his Hebrew name; Jacob, Jacob Ben Avraham, which means “one who follows the faith of Abraham” Jacob went to Bible College and then to a Messianic Yeshiva School. In 2005 he was ordained as Messianic rabbi and now teaches Holy Writ to all who would have ears to hear and an understanding mind, and also to write short stories and poems.

Yes, dear great, great, many times great, grandfather Benjamyn. Your wish, your prayer came true, for from your seed came one who would teach Holy Writ.