The Death of a Wicked Heretic
TOLD BY ZALMAN BEN-AMOS TO DAN BEN-AMOS
My masters and teachers,
Because I am a maggid* and go preaching from town to town, I once came to the town of Samakhlalovitch.
Oy, my masters and teachers, I came to the town of Samakhlalovitch. I have to tell you what happened there.
The heretic—may his name and memory be blotted out—had died. He used to eat treif* food and desecrate the Sabbath.
And when he died, the family wanted to bury him. Ay, what did they do with him? They buried him in the ground.
Oy, my masters and teachers, in the morning, when the family came to the grave, what did they see? The earth had cast him out.
My masters and teachers, the family didn't know where to put him. They took him, the deceased, the corpse, and tossed him into the river.
The next morning, when they came to the riverbank, what did they see, my masters and teachers? There was the deceased again, lying on the riverbank.
Oy, my masters and teachers, the family didn't know where to put him. They decided, they took him and built a fire, and went and laid him in the fire.
Ay, but he was so wicked, such a sinner, that the fire didn't burn him.
And what, my masters and teachers, is the moral of this? You should be pious, you should not be sinners, you should observe God's Torah.
Oy, my masters and teachers, follow God's way and observe the Torah, so the fire will burn you, the water will swallow you, and the ground will take you.
Speedily in our days, amen.
*An itinerant preacher.