Folktales of the Jews - Vol. 2

By Dan Ben-Amos | Go to book overview

58
Three Complaints

TOLD BY YITZHAK BEROSH TO HAIM SCHWARZBAUM

Once a maggid* came to town and wanted to preach in the synagogue and be paid for his sermon. When the synagogue officer, the gabbai, refused to let him speak, he said that he would tell just a quick story:

Once, he said, a poor man, a mamzer** and the Aleinu prayer§ lodged complaints against the Master of the Universe.

The poor man claimed that he was relegated to the last seat in the synagogue, right by the door.

The mamzer complained, "Where is my guilt? Because my father sinned, I am subject to the verse 'No one misbegotten shall be admitted into the congregation of the Lord'?"§§

Aleinu'?, grievance: "People sing all the other prayers and treat them with respect. But in Aleinu they spit. Why am I of lesser station than all the other prayers?"

The Master of the Universe replied as follows:

"For you, poor man, I have ordained that on Friday night, when people say bo'i be-shalom, 'come in peace, Sabbath Queen,' all the worshipers turn and face the door. Then you are in front and have the best place.

"As for you, Aleinu," said the Master of the Universe, "when people look into their souls on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur and behave with utmost gravity, they open the Holy Ark and sing, with great devotion, Aleinu le-Shabe'ah.***

Finally, the Master of the Universe told the mamzer: "And that is why I ordain that every mamzer will get to be a gabbaiV

'An itinerant preacher.

"See the commentary to this tale.

§See the commentary to this tale.

§§Deuteronomy 23:3.

"'Here the informant sang "A-A-lei-nu" in the special tune for the High Holy Days.

-422-

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