Folktales of the Jews - Vol. 2

By Dan Ben-Amos | Go to book overview

53
The Money Hidden in the Cemetery

TOLD BY ESTHER WEINSTEIN TO YEHUDIT GUT-BURG

A merchant traveled to a large city to buy goods. He arrived there late Friday afternoon, shortly before sunset. He went at once to the bathhouse and put on his Sabbath finery. But what could he do with his money? You're not allowed to keep money in your pocket on the Sabbath. But to whom could he entrust it? He didn't know a soul in town. But how does the saying go? "A learned Jew will always find an idea." The merchant decided to bury his money in the local Christian cemetery. After all, who goes there on the Sabbath?

So the Jew went to the cemetery, dug a small hole near one of the graves, buried his money, and marked the hiding place. In his heart, he was quite confident that no one would steal his money.

Thus he came, all clean and polished, to the house of the rebbe,* who greeted him cordially. The merchant stayed with the Hasidim until late at night. They didn't go to bed until after midnight.

No sooner had the merchant fallen asleep then he dreamed about his late father: "Why did you put your money next to the grave of a gentile? Go move your money away from there!"

The merchant woke up. It was just a dream. He turned over and fell asleep. Again his father was standing by his bed. "Get up quickly!" he ordered. "Time is short. Go get your money! I command you! Get dressed, go to the cemetery, take out the money, and bring it to the rebbe's house. Your money will be safe there."

The merchant got up and dressed, poured water on his hands, washed his face, said the Modeh Ani,** opened the door quietly, and started out. The street was quiet and still; everyone was sleeping peacefully.

With rapid steps, he made his way to the cemetery, found the hiding place, dug up his money, put it in his pockets, and turned to go back to his

*A Hasidic rabbi.

**The prayer said by Jews when they first wake up. even before getting out of bed and washing their
hands.

-387-

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