Children of the Ghetto eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 573 pages of information about Children of the Ghetto.

“Hypocrite!” he shrieked.  “Liar!  Machiavelli!  Child of the separation!  A black year on thee!  An evil spirit in thy bones and in the bones of thy father and mother.  Thy father was a proselyte and thy mother an abomination.  The curses of Deuteronomy light on thee.  Mayest thou become covered with boils like Job!  And you,” he added, turning on the audience, “pack of Men-of-the-earth!  Stupid animals!  How much longer will you bend your neck to the yoke of superstition while your bellies are empty?  Who says I shall not smoke?  Was tobacco known to Moses our Teacher?  If so he would have enjoyed it on the Shabbos.  He was a wise man like me.  Did the Rabbis know of it?  No, fortunately, else they were so stupid they would have forbidden it.  You are all so ignorant that you think not of these things.  Can any one show me where it stands that we must not smoke on Shabbos?  Is not Shabbos a day of rest, and how can we rest if we smoke not?  I believe with the Baal-Shem that God is more pleased when I smoke my cigar than at the prayers of all the stupid Rabbis.  How dare you rob me of my cigar—­is that keeping Shabbos?” He turned back to Wolf, and tried to push his foot from off the cigar.  There was a brief struggle.  A dozen men leaped on the platform and dragged the poet away from his convulsive clasp of the labor-leader’s leg.  A few opponents of Wolf on the platform cried, “Let the man alone, give him his cigar,” and thrust themselves amongst the invaders.  The hall was in tumult.  From the gallery the voice of Mad Davy resounded again: 

“Cursed sweaters—­stealing men’s brains—­darkness and filth—­curse them!  Blow them up I as we blew up Alexander.  Curse them!”

Pinchas was carried, shrieking hysterically, and striving to bite the arms of his bearers, through the tumultuous crowd, amid a little ineffective opposition, and deposited outside the door.

Wolf made another speech, sealing the impression he had made.  Then the poor narrow-chested pious men went home through the cold air to recite the Song of Solomon in their stuffy back-rooms and garrets.  “Behold thou art fair, my love,” they intoned in a strange chant.  “Behold thou art fair, thou hast doves’ eyes.  Behold thou art fair, my beloved, yea pleasant; also our couch is green.  The beams of our house are cedar and our rafters are fir.  For lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone; the flowers appear upon the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land.  Thy plants are an orchard of pomegranates, with pleasant fruits, calamus, cinnamon with all trees of frankincense; myrrh and aloe with all the chief spices; a fountain of gardens; a well of living waters and streams from Lebanon.  Awake, O north wind and come, thou south, blow upon my garden that the spices thereof may flow out.”

CHAPTER XX.

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Children of the Ghetto from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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