Folktales of the Jews - Vol. 2

By Dan Ben-Amos | Go to book overview

23
The Shofar of the Messiah

TOLD BY PINḤAS GUTTERMAN

In our town there was a Jewish physician whose grandfather had been Zalman the blacksmith. The physician had long since forgotten that he was the grandson of the Jewish blacksmith and the son of Lipke, the Jewish mill owner.

The old men in town told how the physician's father had become wealthy thanks to the grandfather. The grandfather, Zalman the blacksmith, was very poor. But by virtue of the blessing he received from the holy Ba'al Shem (of blessed memory), the physician's grandfather, Zalman the blacksmith, discovered a treasure—a large ingot of pure gold hidden in a heap of rusty old iron.

The physician's father was very rich. The physician was rich because he inherited silver and gold from his grandfather and father, who, thanks to their faith in the God of Israel, had received the blessing of the holy Ba'al Shem and become rich from this treasure they had found in their smithy, among the rusty old iron.

This physician, the son of Lipke the miller, did not acknowledge that he was a Jew. He was ashamed of his family, of his father and his grandfather. This physician believed in nothing, not even the religion of Israel. He changed his name to a gentile name, a non-Jewish one. The language spoken in his home was that of the gentiles. The festivals celebrated in his home were not the Sabbath and the holidays of his people, the Jews. Instead, he began to celebrate his own holidays—though not, Heaven forbid, the Christian holidays.

The children of the physician, the son of Lipke the miller, were taught the language of the gentiles. They received their education and culture from non-Jewish teachers who taught them their language and lore.

These unfortunate children did not know that they were of Jewish stock. They knew that they were the children of the rich physician, who had received his inheritance and wealth from his father and grandfather.

Once, when the children were already grown, something extraordinary

-168-

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