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Chapter 09

Thus the false report of Joseph had no evil effect on my brother-in-law, but it did further the cause of our enemies, and thus brought great misfortune upon our whole community, and specially on the four men who were in prison. For the priest of Úsov, together with the Consistory of Olomouc, used it to confirm their pleas, which they sent to the Emperor. They reasoned as follows:-

“The statements made by that Jew concerning his adversary, although they were partly disproved, yet may be taken as evidence against the four men, his friends; inasmuch as, without any motive, he stated that when he visited them, they said to him distinctly “Why is this Ha-cohen free, when he struck the deacon more than we did?” From this we may infer that they really had struck the deacon; and it is a principle of the law that ‘the confession of the accused is equal to a hundred witnesses’.”

This declaration was accepted by the Emperor Charles VI, and after seven months had elapsed, the terrible sentence was brought to us in the synagogue on Shebat. The details were as follows:

1. The synagogue of Úsov shall be razed from the top to the foundation, at the expense of the congregation, and it shall be made level with the ground.

2. The synagogue shall be a heap for ever, never to be rebuilt.

3. The Jews of Úsov shall never from a Minyan for prayer, and shall never assemble in order to hold a meeting. Each man is allowed only to pray alone in his own home.

4. The four men who laid their hands on the deacon shall be punished. Three of them, namely Rabbi Jacob, son of Rabbi Samuel, leader of the community; Rabbi Abraham, son of Rabbi Mordecai Cohen, another leader of the community; and Rabbi Abraham Farliz – shall be stripped naked and fastened to the stocks in the market-place. They shall then receive thirty strokes of the lash upon their naked backs and bodies, in the presence of all the Jews, so that they may see, and fear, and never again act presumptuously. After the whipping, the letter “R” shall be burnt into their flesh, so that they may be branded for ever; and afterwards they must swear by the Scroll of the Law to leave the country for ever, and never set foot upon the land of the Emperor, under penalty of death.

5. The fourth man, Abraham Ha-levi, because of his great age (he being seventy-seven years old) shall be free from flogging, by favour of the Emperor, and instead thereof he shall work in the church, shall be bound in iron chains, and shall carry stones and bricks and live on bread and water for three years in succession.

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