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Chapter 07

Receiving an unfavourable verdict for the second time, the Consistory of Olomouc took further counsel and decided to put their complaint before the Emperor Charles VI (exalted be his Majesty!)

Meanwhile, the four elders were still in prison, and in chains. Occasionally, some of the congregation visited them in prison to talk with them. Once they were joined by a man named Joseph, son of the great Rabbi Behr (blessed be his memory), who was Rabbi of Kremzir and author of the Hebrew book Arba’ah Charshim. This man was Joseph “Vinegar, the son of wine”, (a Talmudic expression for the bad son of a good father – Translator’s note), continually quarrelled with all our members, and was, moreover, a notable slanderer and mischievous to all of us.

Now, it happened that my brother-in-law, Rabbi Isaac Ha-cohen, had lent this Joseph a certain sum of money, and as a pledge Joseph had given him some clothes. When the Holy days came, Joseph asked for his clothes, and they were returned to him for the time. After the Holy days, my brother-in-law asked for the clothes back, but Joseph refused to return them, saying that he had repaid the loan before the Holy days.

The Ha-cohen summoned Joseph to appear before the Beth Din, where he was asked to declare on oath that he was speaking the truth. But he could not swear, as his wife’s relatives and members of our community knew quite well that it was not the truth. He was therefore compelled to return the pledges; and planned to have his revenge of Ha-cohen, using the opportunity given by his visit to the prison.

So, after leaving the prison, Joseph went straight to the Justice and stated that he had something of importance to disclose. He informed the Justice that during his visit to his friends in prison, they had complained, saying:-

“Why is it that we are doomed to lie here in chains, while Isaac Ha-cohen is allowed to walk free and unfettered? Is he less guilty than we? Did he not strike the deacon even much more than we did?”

Thus spake Joseph; and his words were copied down by the Justice, signed with his seal and given to the priest of Úsov, who sent the document at once to the Consistory.

“Like honey to the palate” were the words of Joseph to the members of the Consistory. They decided to use them as a fresh piece of evidence to prove their trumped-up charge against the Jews. They added it to their previous document, forwarded both to the Emperor, and besought him to give his mind to their righteous words which, they said, had passed unheeded before both the Tribunal and the High Court of Appeal, and to punish those who had so abused and molested their deacon.


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