M'gilath S'darim‎ > ‎Chapters‎ > ‎

Chapter 05

Neither rest nor sleep did we enjoy since the commissioner left us and imprisoned the four leading men of our community. We immediately collected a large sum of money from our members, but it was not sufficient. Our expenses were many, we spent money lavishly, that we might be relieved. Therefore we were also obliged to sell several Scrolls of the Law. With a heavy heart we sold several of them to adjacent Jewish congregations to obtain the necessary money.

Thus we were enabled to send messengers to the most influential Jews of Brno, that they might do their best for us, yea, move heaven and earth for our sake, that they might gain admittance into the highest circles, stand up for us and intercede on our behalf.

The sum was raised and two messengers were sent. Leib Rostiz, an advocate of high repute, went with them. Also a detailed description of the whole affair was sent to Rabbi Berush, the Chief Rabbi of our country (blessed be the memory of the righteous).

When the news reached Rabbi Berush, he gave himself no rest in his endeavours to set the matter right. He immediately communicated the facts to the highest authorities of the Government, by whom he was very much esteemed, honoured and beloved, partly for his personal merits, and partly because of the high position of his father-in-law S. Wertheimer, who was on friendly terms with lords and princes and even Royalty; and in whose genius, riches and understanding were so excellently combined (blessed be his memory).

Our two messengers also aroused the sympathies of the other notable Jews of Brno who came to the great Fishkish, the judge appointed to settle all the cases of Moravia. His power extended over everyone, from the prince to the peasant.

The members of the Tribunal were all of them lovers of justice, especially the Count Koniz, the chief over them, the great Maximilian of Ulrich who was entrusted with the sovereignty of the whole of Moravia. He was also ruler over the states of Brod, Austerlitz and Rostiz. This Count Koniz was pious, a lover of truth and justice, and sympathetic towards the Jews.

All the members of the Tribunal stated that, in their judgement, the Jews of Úsov were in no way guilty in this affair.

First, the deacon had no right to enter the Jewish synagogue and disturb the prayers, especially on the Fast of Atonement, a day so solemn for them.

Secondly, the duty of the deacon was to attend to his own church and fulfil the services required of him.

Thirdly, the deacon had produced no proper witness to prove that the Jews had struck him. The citizens, however, had assumed this from the dust floating about in the air, and his bedraggled and dusty appearance.

“But an assumption is not a fact. Nay, if we are to accept this assumption, then the evidence would point to the contrary conclusion: namely, that having disturbed the Jews in their holy place, the deacon himself stirred up the dust while resisting their attempts to remove him.

“Furthermore, the statements made by the Jews seemed credible. Clearly, the dusty appearance of the deacon caused the citizens to suspect the Jews and to ask whether the Jews had struck him. The deacon’s answer must have been that given in the Jewish version; for otherwise, armed as they were, why did they not attack even a single one of the Jews? Surely the Lord our God prevented them from shedding innocent blood.”

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