M'gilath S'darim‎ > ‎Chapters‎ > ‎

Chapter 01

In the year 5482 (September 22nd 1722) in the days of the mighty Emperor Charles VI (blessed be his memory) the Synagogue of the town of Úsov was filled with Jews deep in prayer, and the Chazan was chanting the evening service – it was the Eve of the Fast of Atonement.

Suddenly the door flew open and the deacon of the neighbouring church burst in. To the surprise and astonishment of the whole congregation, he rushed up to the Chazan, who was reciting Kol Nidrei, and began to abuse him violently, struck the prayer-book which was lying on the desk, spat in the Chazan’s face, and cursed him aloud. Then he turned to the congregation and cried out with a great cry “Oh, you Jews, you sinful nation, people laden with iniquity, ye that walk in utter darkness…” –

Thus he was proceeding to blaspheme and upbraid the Jews and their faith exceedingly, until four men, named Rabbi Jacob (the son of Rabbi Samuel, a leader of the community), Rabbi Abraham (the son of Rabbi Mordechai Cohen, another leader of the community), Rabbi Abraham Farliz, and the aged Abraham Ha-levi – these four men, being zealous for the sake of the Lord of Hosts, rose from their seats and, going up to the intruder, stood about him to pacify him, using soft answers to turn away his wrath. And they said unto him:- “Wherefore dealest thou thus with thy servants? Surely it is unbecoming in thee to speak so, to uncover thyself as one of the vain fellows shamelessly; neither is it proper for thee, in thy priesthood, to behave so, to throw our holy prayers into confusion, and to thrust thyself amongst us in this holy place on such an awful and sacred day as this day is for us. Nor is it seemly for a man of thy knowledge and discernment to blaspheme and scoff at the words of the living God in such a manner that the soul of every one that heareth weeps in secret, and his heart doth sigh.”

However, in spite of all that was said, he paid no heed to their words, but walked hither and thither and continued to curse and to revile them more and more. As for his words, it sufficeth to hint them: to write them is forbidden.

When the four men saw him still stiff-necked, ignoring their gentle remonstrances and still refusing to go out of the synagogue; when they saw that his violence and insults disturbed exceedingly the congregation in their prayers, they, zealous for the sake of the Lord of Hosts, took hold of him to put him outside the synagogue. But he struggled and wrestled with them until the dust of the floor rose high, and they only succeeded in forcing him to the three steps by the western wall of the synagogue leading to the vestibule door.

Now the door of the vestibule, which was open, was heavy and massive, in keeping with the huge structure of this, the House of God. And as they approached it, it shut of its own accord from the force of their wrestling with their adversary; and the four men were unable to open it and push him into the vestibule.

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