Alexander the Great conquers the world, triumphant in battle after battle. Yet when he meets Shimon HaTzaddik, he jumps off his horse and bows down to him. Why?
Ptolemy's translation of the Torah into Greek is joyously celebrated by the Jews of Alexandria, but later Chazal designate the translation as a tragedy to be commemorated with a fast day. Why?
Vespasian, astounded by Rabbi Yochanan ben Zakkai's (accurate) prediction that he would become emperor, appears ready to grant any wish, but the rabbi limits his request to asking for Yavneh and its sages. Why?
Hadrian was so bad that we add the words may his bones rot to his name, yet Rabbi Yehoshua ben Chananya appears quite at home in the royal court. Why?
Marcus Aurelius leads Rome, the implacable enemy of the Jewish people. But when faced with political threats and personal crisis, he turns to Rabbi Yehudah HaNasi. Why?
Jewish sources focus on the rare but pivotal interactions between great Jewish sages and Roman emperors. The reason is clear: some of life's greatest lessons can be learned from these great historical encounters.
This unique book draws on scores of famous and lesser-known Torah sources, as well as the works of Jewish and non-Jewish historians throughout the ages. For the first time, historian and storyteller Ari Lieberman has collected, analyzed, and explained these incredible encounters, and the result is a fascinating, inspirational page-turner.