Jewish Bedtime Story Co-op

A story from a Moravian Jewish Seder Table. About 475 years ago, in the city of Posen (before it became a Prussian capital), the rabbi was ready to prepare for the holiday of Passover and the rabbi's wife was ready to give birth.

In this same town of Posen, there lived a bad man who wanted to get the rabbi and the Jewish community in trouble with the Prince. The bad man plotted against the rabbi and thought of a way to get him in trouble.

"I know," he said to himself. "I shall rob many home of their candlesticks, jewels, and silver cups; place them all in a sack, and place the sack in the rabbi's home. Then I shall tell the police that the rabbi is a criminal, and he shall be arrested for robbing homes."

And so, the bad man robbed several homes, placed the precious items in a sack, and carried the sack towards the home of the rabbi.

The rabbi was busy with his wife at home. They were setting the table for the seder, when all of the sudden, the rabbi's wife said she was ready to give birth.

"Oy yoy yoy, Betzalel, I am ready to give birth," she whispered.

What a commotion. The rabbi asked his neighbor to get the midwife to help with the birth, The neighbor told his neighbor, who told her neighbor. All of the sudden two dozen neighbors went running down the street to get the midwife to help with the birth of a new baby.

As they ran down the street, guess who was walking up the street? Yes, the bad man with the stolen good was walking up the street. When he saw the dozens of Jewish people racing towards him, the bad man turned, and he began to run away with the sack over his shoulder.

They all passed by the local policeman, who saw a man with a sack being chased by several dozen Jewish people. He naturally thought that the man with the sack was a burglar and so he arrested the man. The dozens of Jewish people continued to run in order to get the midwife to deliver the baby.

The policemen took the man with the sack to the palace of the Prince. The man confessed that he had stolen the goods in order to frame the rabbi. The man was therefore punished and thrown into jail.

The Prince then sent for the rabbi.

"Tell me, rabbi," asked the Prince, "why were dozens of Jewish people chasing the man with the sack the previous evening?"

"Chasing?" replied the rabbi. "I know of no chasing. All I know is that my wife was ready to give birth to our son. We called for a midwife, and my neighbors ran down the streets to fetch the midwife."

"I see," said the Prince. "I believe that a miracle occurred then. For if your wife had not gone into labor, this burglar would have framed you for being a criminal, and you surely would have gone to jail."

The rabbi replied, "Then this is truly a miraculous Pesach, my family and community were saved by the birth of my son. I will therefore name him Yehudah." And so that was a good Pesach in Posen that year, and the community rejoiced at the bris of the rabbi's son. -- Revised: July 1999
Copyright © 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999 Acquired in August 1999.

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