Page 94 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 46

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8 6
JEWISH BOOK ANNUAL
pa ex ch ang ed clothes. T h a t n ig h t Elijah th e p r o p h e t e n te r e d
th e d u n g e o n an d ta u g h t G ra n d p a how to dan ce th e Kozatzka.
T h e follow ing even ing they b ro u g h t u p th e Jew f rom the
d u n g e o n , d re ssed h im in th e bear-sk in an d p re p a r e d to revel
in th e “sp o r t” o f see ing a Jew be ing w h ipp ed to d e a th . But,
w o n d e r o f wonders! T h e Jew d an c ed th e Kozatzka with m igh t
an d with very g race fu l mo tions, all th e while m um b ling a p ra y e r
to th e A lm igh ty to red e em th e Jew s from th e i r exile an d o p ­
pression . T h e nobles en joyed th e “show” imm ense ly an d the
in n k e e p e r ’s deb ts were p a rd o n e d .
T h e “Holy G r a n d p a o f S hpo le” e n d a n g e re d his life to save
a Jew from th e d u n g e o n . He surely was n o t aw are th a t Elijah
would teach him to dance . N one the less , he was ce r ta in th a t the
m e r it o f th e m itzvah o f re d e em in g a fellow-Jew wou ld p ro te c t
him since “T h o se sen t to p e r fo rm a m itzvah will no t be
h a rm e d .” 15 Because o f th e love o f a fellow-Jew a m iracle was
w rou g h t fo r him an d he escaped un sca thed .
THE YOUNG M AN
T h e gist o f this leng thy ballad is as follows: Rabbi Leib S a ra h ’s
used to occupy h im se lf with red e em in g Jew s from captivity.
Once he n e ed ed 200 ,000 rub les to red e em a n um b e r o f peop le ,
whom a gen tile nob lem an h ad th re a te n e d to kill. H e trave lled
to P e te rsb u rg to see a wealthy Jew an d p rom ised h im th a t if
he gave him th e e n t ire sum w ithou t delay , he wou ld be a llo tted
a place in H eaven r ig h t n ex t to o r even h ig h e r th an th a t o f
Rabbi Leib.
T h e rich m an ag re ed on th e cond ition th a t Rabbi Leib wou ld
enab le him to see one o f th e 36 p ious m en in whose m e r i t th e
world ex is ts .16 In con s id e ra tion o f th e g re a t m itzvah o f r e d em p ­
tion o f th e captives, Rabbi Leib ag re ed even to this d em an d ,
an d gave th e rich m an in s truc tion s w he re to go an d w ha t to
do . A rr iv ing a t a h u t on th e ou tsk ir ts o f Odessa , he fo u n d th e re
a simple ta ilo r an d a young m an , p re sum ab ly his ap p ren t ic e .
T h e rich m an to ld th e ta ilor, as in s tru c ted by Rabbi Leib, th a t
he n e ed ed to have his tro u se rs re p a i re d . A f te r low e ring the
price som ewhat, the ta ilo r com p lied with his reque s t .
15 Cf. note 7 above.
16 Cf. Sukkah 45b.