Folktales of the Jews - Vol. 2

By Dan Ben-Amos | Go to book overview

18
The Apostate Who Made the
Tenth for a Minyan

TOLD BY ESTHER WEINSTEIN TO YEHUDIT GUT-BURG

One evening the rebbe* told his shammes** "Hitch up the horses to the wagon and we'll start out." Where? The next day was Erev Yom Kippur.§ No one knew and no one asked.

The shammes hitched up the horses and told the rebbe that everything was ready for the journey. The shammes loaded the wagon with the rebbe's Yom Kippur maḆzor§§his tallit,*** and provisions for the journey. The rebbe climbed into the wagon, followed by the shammes, who served as his driver. The horses set off at a fast pace. All night, they traveled this way.

Toward morning, they reached an isolated village where only a few Jewish families lived. The village Jews, who had never seen the holy rebbe, did not recognize him and had no idea who the newcomers were. Nevertheless, they were delighted by the arrival of two more Jews whom they could include in a minyan for Yom Kippur and greeted them cordially.

During the morning, the rebbe rested from the long drive. As evening approached, he put on his holiday finery, which was as white as snow, and went to the synagogue, accompanied by his shammes. All the villagers arrived for the Kol Nidrei§§§ service—but they were one short for a minyan. What could they do? "Do any other Jews live around here?" the rebbe asked. "None," was the reply.

"There is one apostate," remembered one of the worshipers, "but he

*A Hasidic rabbi.

**Synagogue caretaker.

§Yom Kippur eve.

§§A special prayer book used for Rosh Hashanah. Yom Kippur and other holidays.

***Prayer shawl.

§§§Opening prayer of Yom Kippur eve worship service.

-133-

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