The Human Side of the Story

For the week ending 8 May 2004 / 17 Iyyar 5764

The Inseparable Connection

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
Library Library Library

The head of the Inquisition court of Spanish priests was about to sign another execution order against a Jew who had been caught by Torquemadas agents practicing his religion by praying in tallit and tefillin.

This time, however, his hand was unable to move. He tried again and again to pen the death sentence but to no avail. The shock of this paralysis sent his mind racing back to his childhood and he recalled being kidnapped by agents of the church from his Jewish home and being raised in a monastery to become a priest. His superior intelligence was quickly recognized and he was promoted from post to post until he became the chief judge of an ecclesiastical court trying Jews who refused to accept the dictates of the church. He had been separated so long from his family that he hardly remembered them. But now it occurred to him that the Jew whose death sentence he found so difficult to sign might he his own father.

He quickly summoned the condemned prisoner to his chambers and asked him if he had a son who was kidnapped by church agents as a child. When the answer was affirmative, he broke into tears and embraced the man in chains, crying "Father, Father!"

Not only did he acquit the man he discovered as his father, but he soon found a way to abandon the church and return to his Jewish roots.

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