Tradition Distorted: S.Y. Agnon’s Passover Tale

Photo: Nati Shohat/Flash 90

The Passover holiday, just ushered in with the Seder, has often been misunderstood throughout the non-Jewish world. On this episode, host Marcela Sulak reads excerpts from S.Y. Agnon’s story The Tale of Little Rabbi Gadiel, a bizarre account of Jewish blood libel occurring around Passover. The story is translated by Evelyn Abel and is from the Agnon collection Forevermore & Other Stories, edited by Jeffrey Saks.

Here is an excerpt from The Tale of Little Rabbi Gadiel:

“One day several of the wickedest men of the nations of the world who were envious of Rabbi Gadiel’s father came together and said: ‘How long will this Jew usurp us and rob us of our livelihood? The time has come to remove him from this world.’ One said to the other.’ But for fear of the authorities we would swallow him alive.’ And one stood and said ‘These Jews’ Passover is approaching; come let us take a corpse and put it in this Jew’s house and say, ‘One of ours he killed, for his Matzot he killed, to bake him in blood he killed,’ and we will go and call the judges of the town and the elders of the community, and they will arrest him with iron chains and lead him out to be executed, and we will have our revenge on him, and moreover we will have his wealth and divide it amongst ourselves. “

“The Tale of Little Rabbi Gadiel,” by S.Y Agnon, translated by Evelyn Abel, Forevermore & Other Stories. Edited by Jeffrey Saks. The Toby Press, 2016.

Itzhak Perlman – Nigun
Leonid Kogan – Nigun

Producer: Ariella Plachta
Technical producer: Tammy Goldenberg

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