||A volume of Midrash from the Babylonian Talmud by Dr. David Klein. It begins with the story from the Tractate Taanit of a seventy year sleep. The story is that of Choni Hama’agel (the circle-drawer). One day, as Choni was traveling along the road, he saw a man planting a carob tree.
Choni asked him, "How long will it take for this tree to bear fruit?"
"Seventy years," the man replied. "Do you think that you will live another 70 years?" Choni asked. The man replied, "I found carob trees growing when I was born, because my forefathers planted them for me, so I, too, plant them for my children."
Thereupon Choni sat down to have a meal, and sleep overcame him. As he slept, a rock formation grew around him hiding him from sight. He continued to sleep for 70 years. When he woke up he saw what looked like the same man gathering beautiful fruit from the carob tree.
"Are you the man who planted this tree?" Choni asked. "No, I am his grandson," the man replied. Choni then realized that he had slept for 70 years! Choni returned home and found that his son had died but his grandson was still alive. He said to the members of his household, "I am Choni Hama’agel!" but they did not believe him, as seventy years had passed since Choni had last been seen.
He left and went to the Beit Midrash (study hall) and announced, "I am Choni Hama’agel," but no one believed him, and they did not show him any respect. Choni, in utter despair, prayed for Divine mercy and died. To this Rava observed, "For this reason people say, "Give me companionship or give me death!"