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or effort to be ready."

The meeting was brought to a close, and Tirnau began preparing
feverishly for Rabbi Yitzchak's arrival.

The fifteenth of Shevat, 1470, was proclaimed a holiday for the
Jews of Tirnau. All the stores were closed, and windows and balco-
nies were gaily decorated. Every Jewish home glowed with candles
lit for the occasion, and the narrow cobbled alleys of the ghetto
were mobbed with people moving in the direction of the welcom-
ing ceremony, which was taking place at the entrance to the city.

At the magnificent arch which had been erected with the approv-
al of the queen, who was acting as Regent of Hungary since the death
of her husband, a festive procession was forming to go out to greet
the new arrivals. Leading them were one hundred riders on horse-
back, dressed as knights, with swords dangling at their sides. Behind
them marched the schoolchildren in perfect order, banners held
high. Following them came all the townspeople, dressed in their
finest, eyes shining with joy in having lived to participate in such a
momentous event.

Finally, the Rabbi and his men could be seen approaching, fol-
lowed by a procession of carriages. These were the councilmen of
the congregation, who had ridden out to meet Rabbi Yitzchak. At
the arch the carriages halted, the council members quickly stepped
out and ran to the Rabbi's carriage. They helped him down and led
him to a special throne under the arch. Joyous music filled the air,
and the crowd roared, "Long live our master!"

When the commotion had somewhat subsided, the elderly presi-
dent Rabbi Zerachiah approached the Rabbi, kissed his hand and
with great emotion proclaimed the Shehechiyanu blessing.

"Amen!" the crowd responded thunderously, after which Rabbi
Zerachiah began his welcoming address.

"In the name of our community, I have been given the honor of
greeting you, dear Rabbi, teacher of Israel. All the men, women and
children in Tirnau join me in extending our warmest welcome to
you, your family and your students. Our hearts are filled with joy at
the prospect of drinking from the wellsprings of your spiritual
knowledge. May your arrival mark a new page in Tirnau's history,
and may Hashem grant you long life and good health so that you will
lead us in greeting Mashiach. Amen!"

Once more, an ear-shattering cry of "Long live the Rabbi!" rang
through the air. A child dressed in silk, led by two little companions,
approached the Rabbi, clutching a small scroll. In a melodious
Hebrew, he made a little welcome speech and then handed over the
document of inauguration to Rabbi Yitzchak.

At this point, the Rabbi rose and broke the expectant silence with
a short oration.

"I come to you, my dear brethren and sisters, from a distant land,
from a corner that is blessed by Hashem, where Torah and prosper-
ity flourish. It was terribly painful for me to decide to leave my
homeland, the land where my cradle stood, where I first heard the
sounds of Torah. But I did it because sad times are drawing near,
times that remind us that we are still in gains. Our religious exis-
tence in Spain is being threatened. Our unfortunate brethren will
have but two options: one leads to Heaven and the other to the
nether world. I am afraid that many of them will fail in their obliga-
tion to Hashem, and make the wrong choice . . ."

Loud sobs interrupted his speech, and a sadness settled over
everyone as Rabbi Yitzchak continued.

"In these bitter times, I departed my homeland, because the
Torah was in danger there. I prayed for Hashem's assistance in
establishing a yeshivah here, to plant the seeds of Torah in your
midst so that it may protect you from the perilous winds blowing
around us. Torah is our only defense in this bitter exile. May Hashem
grant us the strength and ability to learn and live by His holy Torah.
May he take pity on us all and send Mashiach to lead us out of this
galus. Amen!"

After the Rabbi's words, the music resumed playing and the
crowd danced jubilantly. Led by the community elders, the entire
town escorted Rabbi Yitzchak to his new home.


                                                         ........this is the sample selection.




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