M'gilath S'darim‎ > ‎Chapters‎ > ‎

Chapter 02

A Christian woman, who was employed by the leaders of the community to tend the candles of the synagogue and to snuff them on the Day of Atonement, was also present during the dispute with the deacon. She immediately ran from the synagogue to the market place of the town, and gave alarm to the populace, crying out to them:- “All the Jews, both young and old, who are assembled in the synagogue, are lifting up their hands against our holy deacon! Run to the synagogue quickly! Deliver him out of the hands of those who are smiting him! Do not loiter, for the noise there is so terrible, I think he is like to be killed!”

All the citizens who heard her words started up with rods and spades and hatchets, and rushed forward. People from every quarter joined them; and in their hundreds invaded the synagogue.

Inside the synagogue, the four men were vainly struggling to open the door, when my brother-in-law, who was then only twenty-five years of age, came to their aid and succeeded in opening it. He was the learned Rabbi Isaac Ha-cohen, then trustee of the synagogue. No sooner had he opened the door than the crowd swarmed into the vestibule. And when they saw their deacon standing there, with his black robes and hood soiled and dusty, they said to him:-

“Our Lord and holy father, thou wilt surely tell unto thy servants whether these cursed Jews have dared to lift their hands against thy reverence?”

And the deacon answered them and said:-

“Far be it from me to testify falsely against them. They have neither laid hands upon me nor held up a finger against me!”

It was surely the Lord’s doing that, at that very moment, the deacon uttered no untruth; for had he but pronounced the slightest word against us, we should have been like unto Sodom and Gomorrah, for not even a very small remnant of us would have been left. This corresponds exactly to the saying of our sages (blessed be their memory):- ‘The sword of justice doth not descend upon men at the outset.’

The deacon’s answer appeased the anger of the citizens against the Jews, and the mob, now quieted, left the synagogue accompanied by their deacon.

The citizens, although they wrought no violence upon us, yet caused us great fright, especially the women who were praying in the gallery. In their great distress they rushed to the stairs and, descending them, fell, one upon another, and were terribly hurt. A great number of them, overcome with fright, miscarried.

May the holy one, blessed be he, remove from all the Jews their heart-sore grief from this time forth and for evermore!


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