ELEAZAR B. DURDAIA:
A famous penitent, quoted both as a warning against debauchery, which leads to death, and as an encouragement to repentance, which leads to eternal happiness. It is related of him that, after leading a life of licentiousness, he at last bethought himself of his latter end. He mentally sought intercessors among the elements, beseeching them to appeal for his pardon and future peace; but none was found competent to act for him, they themselves being finite, and doomed to annihilation. Concluding that his future depended solely on himself, he prayed and wept until he died. Thereupon, legend adds, a Bat Ḳol announced that Eleazar was assured of happiness in the hereafter. When Rabbi (Judah I.) heard this story, he exclaimed, "Verily, some procure eternal happiness only after toiling many years, while others obtain the same result in a short time" ('Ab. Zarah 17a).