Section: Parshas HaShavua   Category: Story
Parshas Haazinu: Ramban - Where Is R' Avner?

The Seder HaDoros brings this remarkable story about the Ramban.  He had a Talmid named R' Avner who converted to christianity.  After a short time he rose in the Church to become a very powerful leader.  

One Yom Kippur he summoned the Ramban to appear before him.  He then proceeded to slaughter a pig, cut it up, cook it, and eat before the Ramban.  He the asked the Ramban how many Krisus he was Chayav.  The Ramban said, "Four."

The apostate argued and said, "Five."  The Ramban gave a very dirty look and even he had enough shame from his Rebbi to be quiet then.

The Ramban asked him what made him do what he did?  He said that he once heard the Ramban say that all the mitzvos and everything that ever happened in the world was alluded to in Parshas Ha'azinu.  Since this was impossible for him to reconcile he left the Jewish religion altogether.

The Ramban reaffirmed its truth and challenged R' Avner to ask him anything, and he would find it in Haazinu.  R' Avner was taken aback and he asked the Ramban where his name R' Avner is in the Parsha?  The Ramban went to a corner and davened and suddenly a pasuk came to his mouth (Haazinu 32:26), אָמַרְתִּי, אַפְאֵיהֶם אַשְׁבִּיתָה מֵאֱנוֹשׁ זִכְרָם, I made up my mind to cast them away, I would eliminate mention of them from mankind. The third letter of each of these words spells R' Avner.  

When R' Avner heard this he turned white and his haughtiness left him.  He asked the Ramban if there was any cure for his grave ills.  The Ramban said, "You heard the words of the Pasuk!" and turned and left.   R' Avner immediately went down to the port, took a boat without any sailors or any oars, and sailed away where the wind would take him, and was never heard from again.