Shmuel is born to privilege. He comes from a family of aristocratic Kohanim and his father is one of the richest merchants in Roman-occupied Eretz Yisrael. Lacking nothing, he devotes himself to Torah study without a care in the world, and he grows steadily in stature and reputation. The finest families compete for the honor of having him as a son-in-law. In sharp contrast, Yosef, Shmuel's friend and chavrusa, has nothing at, all. The orphaned child of a respectable but penniless family, Yosef lives off his pitifully meager earnings as a ragpicker. He eats little and wears nattered clothes, but his spirit is sustained by his devotion to Torah study. Although the friendship between the young noble and the ragpicker is deep and strong, it seems that their destinies will inevitably split them apart. But then Shmuel is abducjted by a band of ruffians and held for ransom in a dark cave, and the exciting events that follow forever change their lives. An Ancient Tale of Rags and Riches, Yehudah Cahn's first novel, is a riveting and suspenseful tale filled with the flavor of Talmudic society and the color of ancient Yerushalayim. It is a book that entertains, educates 'and inspires.