Folktales of the Jews - Vol. 2

By Dan Ben-Amos | Go to book overview

62
Half Is Mine and Half Is Yours

TOLD BY ISRAEL FURMAN


First Version

One clear summer day, a Polish Jew came to a town in Germany looking for a way to make some money. He saw that the townsfolk were all amaratzim—unlettered ignoramuses when it came to Hebrew and religious matters. What did he do? He pounced on his prey and informed the Jews that the next day was Yom Kippur. The Jews were in a panic—where would they find themselves a cantor?

Hearing this, the Polish Jew immediately offered—for he was a professional cantor—to stay and conduct the services if they paid him a handsome sum.

The local Jews were delighted and agreed to his terms. The next day they celebrated Yom Kippur.

During the services, however, another Polish Jew, a certain Ḥayyim who hailed from the same town as the cantor, happened into the synagogue. What did the cantor do? When he saw Ḥayyim enter, he continued the service without interruption, singing the same melody but changing the Hebrew words:

"Greetings, Reb* Ḥayyim!
I told them today is Yom Kippur.
Half is mine and half is yours:
O Holy One!"


Second Version

A Polish Jew was looking for a way to make a living and began selling candles. One day, he came to a town in Germany and tried to sell giant candles to the local Jews. But who buys such large candles? What did the

*Rabbi or Mr.

-437-

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