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October 02, 1987 - Image 49

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1987-10-02

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continued. Reb Nachman
would add one gilden and
Mordecai-Haman would up
him four. The old sage knew
well enough that he was in
over his head, but he just
couldn't stop. It was beyond
his strength to turn over to
this ignorant, impudent
youngster an honor which he
had held with dignity for fif-
ty years. He bid on and on and
"One hundred gilden!!!"
Reb Nachman paled. He felt
the ground giving way under
his feet. He was about to lose
consciousness but his lips,
contrary to his inclination,
muttered mechanically.
"One hundred and one . . ."
A frightened, suppressed
silence enveloped the
synagogue. All were aware
that it was fatal for Reb
Nachman to pledge such a
sum. The sympathy for the
fallen philanthropist was on-
ly equalled by the contempt
for his arrogant opponent.
They maintained their calm
but the cup was already
overflowing. It would take on-
ly one more drop for them to
put the culprit in his place.
Mordecai-Haman was not
one to be bothered by public
displeasure. No sooner had
Reb Nachman raised the bid,
when he jumped on the plat-
form, and slamming the table
with a coarse, heavy hand,
shouted, "Fellow Jews! I want
you to know that Reb
Nachman had no right to bid
so high. I happen to know
that he is in no position to
part with such a sum."
The congregation was up on
its feet. This needless insult
was more than they could
bear. They made for the
pulpit, shouting.
"Bloody agitator . .!"
"What chutzpah!"
Insensitive to congrega-
tional disapproval, he con-
tinued to pound on the table
and yell above the public
"Let Reb Nachman himself
admit it. If he says that he
can come in tomorrow and lay
down the pledged sum, I will
withdraw my bid and leave
the honor of opening the ark
to him."
Once again a somber
silence descended as all eyes
turned toward Reb Nachman.
Hearing Mordecai-Haman's
challenge, he hastily rose and
started to say something.
Suddenly his face twitched,
his head dropped. Thus he
stood, a condemned and van-
quished idol.
Mordecai-Haman, standing
triumphant on the pulpit
with his head raised high, de-
fiantly ordered the sexton to

ur life.

The butto
that coul

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