top of page
< Back

Emunat Omen, by Meyer Schomberg

Harold Levy (trans.)

<plain_text><page sequence="1">Emunat Omen by Meyer Sch?mberg Translated by Harold Levy Sheet 1 THIS BOOK EMUNAT OMEN WAS WRITTEN BY THE ABLE PHYSICIAN WITH THE GIFT OF SPEEDY HEALING WHO BEFORE THE ANGELS PRESENTS HIMSELF BY HIS NAME MEYER SCHOMBURG MADE HERE IN LONDON IN THE YEAR (5)506 [(1) 746] Sheet 2 I BELIEVE with perfect faith in the existence of God, may His name be blessed, for He is the root of all roots. He is the substance of knowledge. His simplicity is absolute. His existence is axiomatic. He subsists in Himself and nothing has existence but through Him. He is the cause of all causes. He alone made, makes and will make all things. I BELIEVE with perfect faith that the Creator, may His name be blessed, is One and that there is no unity like His in any way and that He alone is our God. He was, He is and He will be. I BELIEVE with perfect faith that the Creator, may His name be blessed, is not corporeal and that the attributes of a body do not apply to Him and that He has no likeness at all. I BELIEVE with perfect faith that the Creator, may His name be blessed, is the first and the last, and that besides Him there is no God. I BELIEVE with perfect faith that to the Creator, may His name be blessed, alone is it fitting to pray and to none other. I BELIEVE with perfect faith that the prophecy of Moses our teacher, upon Him be peace, was from Him, may His name be blessed, and that he was a father to the prophets that preceded him and to those that came after him. I BELIEVE with perfect faith that the Creator, may His name be blessed, has bestowed prophecy on our prophets and that all their words are true and right. Sheet 3 EMUNAT OMEN The True Faith WHEREAS in this generation there has procreated, swarmed and multiplied exceedingly, a generation that is pure in its own eyes; men lacking in knowledge; hypocrites that display hoofs like a pig and say "See I am pure" while in truth they have not cleansed themselves of their own filfth, who aim and desire only to find fault with true, God-fearing, bribe-hating men of upright heart while they themselves in their own innermost hearts are full of deceiptfulness and secretly commit transgressions, iniquities and sins: Sheet 4 These people, sinful at the cost of their souls, destroyers of the perfect Torah and moral and natural laws, they it is who have strengthened me and moved me to take the writer's inkhorn from my side, to put ink to paper, to make known 101</page><page sequence="2">102 EMUNAT OMEN BY MEYER SCH?MBERG in public all that is in my heart taking first things first, and to reveal their deficiencies and the meagreness of their knowledge to show them that their right hand holds falseness. Thereafter I shall set forth for the modest and the good what in my opinion a man of religion, science, and morals must uphold to be saved by God. Sheet 5 THESE HYPOCRITES maliciously break all Ten Commandments. All they do is only for show. They pride theselves that they believe in the existence of God, may He be blessed, while in truth it is not so, because inwardly they deny His existence and His unity. The fool says in his heart, "There is no God." They do not believe in Him who said, "I am the Lord thy God etc." In the second commandment it is said that it is a punishable sin to serve idols but they themselves serve Bcfal Zephon.1 Gold comes to them by all manner of sin and transgression. They are entirely devoted to multiplying riches and property, silver and gold in abundance, and to collecting it in their treasure-houses in order to display a rich store of those securities of mighty London's treasure house called bank-notes. They declare, "These are thy gods, O Israel," and pay no attention to the voice of the Master who said "There shall not be, etc." Sheet 6 THEY PAY Hp service to the commandment which declares it a sin to take a false oath while they themselves all day and all night continually without stopping on all manner of vain occasions swear, "As God lives." They do not fear Him who spoke and the world began. THEY CRITICIZE anyone who rides in a carriage on Sabbath or wears a sword at bis side saying that he is defiling the Sabbath day but the boot is on the other foot, for they defile it by opening their letters on the Holy Day, and by discussing matters of business, deciding what to do after Sabbath, whether to sell or to buy merchandise or the like. Sometimes it happens that the letter brings the reader bad news of the loss of bis ships, or of an attack by pirates, or of another of the evil happenings that may occur in the world. Then the Sabbath of rest and joy is changed for them to one of grief and sorrow and sighing. In addition, they walk on the day of rest by design in the street of the changer, which is called Exchange Alley, to enquire and find out on that day from merchants and brokers if there has been a rise or fall in the price of the India (Hodu) securities which are called "India Bonds," or the India (Hodu) securities which are called "southern sea" or South Sea notes of the treasure house called "Banco." In these investigations they spend their time discussing the matter with one another and giving one another instructions for dealing with the securities and bills of exchange. Each one has his own business. It happens on occasion that they lose money because the market price has gone up, or because the market has gone down, or because the market has been fluc? tuating, so that their Sabbath joy and rest is mingled with ceaseless sorrow and grief. Not only that, but if on that day some merchant goes to the Fleet2 because he has stopped payment, they they will run and jump and skip like a hart to take protective measures and stop payment at the bank, or run to merchants so that they should not accept the bills of exchange. Further, should the time for the payment of some bill of exchange occur on the Holy Sabbath they give instructions on that very day to return money to its owners. They discuss one trouble after another. Their day of rest is not a day of rest for them either in this world or the next, because they go to feed themselves at a nearby place, eating of the produce of the land that which it is forbidden to eat and drinking the wine and fresh liquor that makes maids merry, in the company of strange women. With all this they brazenly proclaim that they are observing Sheet 7 Sheet 8</page><page sequence="3">EMUNAT OMEN BY MEYER SCH?MBERG 103 the Sabbath day while they are defiling it and are not fulfilling the injunction, "Remember the Sabbath Day, etc." THEY THINK in their rotten rninds that they are observing the Command? ment to honour father and mother and to honour an older brother, as is also enjoined in that precious Commandment. In fact in their stupidity they curse them saying, "When will they die and their name perish so that we may take over their money, their inheritance, their possessions ?" Some of them even in public open their mouths against their father and curse him, saying that he Sheet 9 brought them into the world to bear with suffering grievous and long illnesses and that they were conceived only for bodily enjoyment and the fulfilment of animal desire. They inevitably fail in the duty to honour their older brother and in this way they fling off the yoke of the Commandment of God who said "Honour thy father and mother, etc." THEY HATE a murderer while in truth their hands are filled with blood, for they kill and shed innocent blood with their ev? tongue as they go tale-bearing, revealing secrets, spreading evil reports about their fellow, despising and sHghting his honour, and depriving him of his very life by undermining his Hvelihood and the Hvelihood of his household. And if a man is poor and short of means and beseeches a helping hand, perhaps some aid to perform a good deed of obligation, then he is pushed aside with both hands and sent away emptyhanded. Not only do they fail to support the poor and the needy and trangress the written words, "Thou shalt surely open (thy hand), etc.", "Thou shalt surely give, etc." but they also throw scorn on him with harsh words and Sheet 10 let a poor man's prayer pass unheeded. They shed his blood within him because the colour disappearing from his face gives way to pallor.3 There is no bloodshed as grievous as this. If on occasion a young man strives with an older man, or a man of low estate with a man of honourable state, he will be spurned and told what he has and what he has not. In this way his gall will be poured out on the ground like water in the valley in the presence of the assembled community. There is no more cruel murder than this and they do not feel the import of God's Commandment that warned us "Thou shalt not murder." THEY PRATE that they are men of worth and modesty but from their deeds every man of good heart sees that they love whoredom and adultery. Not only do they He with women, daughters of the gentiles, as if they were fulfilling a Sheet 11 commandment, without shame, but they also live and dwell and lodge with them in intimate embrace and reject the hasher daughters of Israel who are our own flesh and blood, for all of us are the children of one man, honest and true people, the holy seed of Israel. Yet these men do not desire them but rather speak ill of them. One tribe quarrels with another, one family with another; one says, "I am of greater worth than you because of my princely tribe," another says, "I am greater than you because of my princely tribe"; and a third says, "I am greater than you because of my noble family and long pedigree." For this reason they do not wish to mix with one another and to intermarry among themselves. They set up divisions between them as if they did not come come from one stem and root. On the contrary they turn their eyes to the daughters of the land and raise their eyes to women of their own choice whom the Lord has not chosen. They marry them before priests and pay no attention to the Torah. They do not know or understand God's decree given by his Prophet Malachi, chapter ii, verses 11 and 12, "If a man marries the daughter Sheet 12 of a strange god then God will cut off him who does that. He will not have anyone to speak for him from the tents of Jacob or anyone to offer on his behalf H</page><page sequence="4">104 EMUNAT OMEN BY MEYER SCH?MBERG an offering to the God of Hosts." This, as our Rabbis of blessed memory explained in the Gemarahf means: "No sage will expound his case and no student speak up for him. AND IF he is a priest he will not have a son bringing an offering to the Lord of Hosts." Some of them are so addicted to lewdness and adultery that they even associate with their friends' wives. As Jeremiah the Prophet says, chapter ix, verse 2 "They are all adulterers, an assembly of traitors." In spite of this they think that they do not transgress the holy Commandment "Thou shalt not commit adultery." THEY DECLARE, with their tongues hanging out, that they have never taken anything from anyone and that they have never stolen even an insignificant sum, while in the accounts that they send to their friends to countries overseas and other countries by a stroke of their pen they steal substantial amounts. In this way they think that they are not transgressing the commandment, "Thou shalt not steal." Sheet 13 THEY AFFIRM that they have never borne false witness against their brother. I also agree that they do not do this before a gentile court. But spreading false reports about their friends, which is equivalent to false witness, is their daily custom, followed and manifest in the light of day. In order to uphold their false statements they swear with avidity that with their own eyes they have seen such and such a thing or heard such and such a word. They testify to what they have not seen and take an oath on what they have not heard. Their eyes are closed to the Creator's injunction, "Thou shalt not answer against thy neigh? bour, etc." THEY AFFIRM loudly that they have never coveted their neighbour's wife, or his daughter, or his maidservant, and so on, yet while they are saying this to one another they are also saying, "Would I were as rich as so and so, would I had as beautiful a wife and as handsome a home as he has, then I would not Sheet 14 be doing so and so." All their utterances are of a piece with this. From their words it is easy to see that their evil heart covets and desires what they do not have and with their Hps they deny God's injunction, "Thou shall not covet, etc." AND IF this is the way they uphold the Ten Commandments which were uttered by the Almighty on the chosen occasion, open your eyes and see who these people are and what the claims are of these erring men. If there is a man who wiU deny what I have said and say that I have not spoken truly, if he himself is reaHy perfect and true, then I am ready with all my heart and with all my soul to let him be a prince and a judge in this matter to weigh my case with the clear eye of his intelligence in a true balance. No wickedness has been found on my lips. THESE are the people who find fault with righteous men of faith and morals. Sheet 15 These are the hypocrites who act like Zimri and claim the reward of Phinehas. If they saw their own ugly blemishes or if they looked at the hump on their own back they would not have to go and find it on someone else's shoulder. Let them go to the physician to get the mote removed from their own eye, then they would see and find on their own body their own blemish and their own blotch. If they would He in the dust at the feet of scholars and frequent the home of their master and teacher to acquire some wisdom and knowledge, they would be taught the words of the sages and their cunning knowledge, as our Rabbis of blessed memory teach us in the Gemarah,5 "Adorn yourselves and thereafter adorn others."</page><page sequence="5">EMUNAT OMEN BY MEYER SCH?MBERG 105 To those of you who are ignorant of all this, who have no knowledge or under? standing of the matter I say: "This does not apply to you, my learned friends, who have the perfect attributes, who have faith and pure hearts, for I know, my sons, I know, that you never see anything but what is good for you, that you Sheet 16 acquire Tor ah and good deeds and walk in the upright and perfect ways of God; to you I shall explain the matter clearly." It is true that sometimes I have been called on the Holy Day of Rest to visit some patient at a distance. Now this city that I dwell in is London, a great city of God's in which it is impossible for a human being, be he mighty as a lion or swift as a hart, to cover on foot the whole great area even in a whole day, much less to seek in the markets and streets the whereabouts of the houses in which the patients must be visited. It is even more difficult outside the city. Therefore I am forced to take a carriage. I consider that assuredly if I tired and wearied myself I would have lost the rest that the honoured and revered God has commanded me to observe. For this reason I allow myself expressly to take the lenient view that it is better to ride resting in a carriage, which neither troubles nor fatigues me. There is also this that since I must go it is better for me to choose the lesser evil and Sheet 17 to transgress a command that rests on the word of the scribes rather than to transgress a word of God himself. If anyone should say it is better to remain in one's place and do nothing I can answer that too. The All-Merciful says, "That he may live by them," not "That he should die by them." This especially applies to a man like myself who has, as is known, a large family. As the sage says, a deed done because of necessity is neither to be censured or praised. There is no understanding man who would advise me to leave my house short while it is within my power to feed and sustain it honourably, praise be to God who guides me, and if I do not go when someone calls me then I lose my liveli? hood and the livelihood of my household. My witness is in the heavens above, for the Lord is an understanding God. He knows the heart's secrets; He knows that for many years I refrained from making any visits at all when I was called on the Holy Sabbath. I said, "Alas! They have gone"; for in this way I lost many of them who never called me from that day onwards. And if some accuser will ask me, "Why does not a man like you pursue and Sheet 18 seek your livelihood among the faithful of the chosen people, our Jewish brothers, who will be redeemed with us, the sons of our Covenant who live in this city ?", then you may set his teeth on edge and answer him. This is the reason. Do you not know the nature of our brothers, the children of Israel ? One and all they love their money more than their body to extreme excess. They cut down and reduce a doctor's fee if he is one of our own Covenant by giving him a small fixed annual sum, or a moderate fee after every visit. For this small reward they think that they have bought him as an everlasting slave. If the reward were balanced by the loss and the loss balanced by the reward, so that he would still be able to sustain himself and his household with honour, I would have kept quiet, but they pay no attention to Scripture which says, "That thy brother may five with thee." If their doctor is a Jew they insist on his fulfilling the text, "That thy brother may live with thee," and he must without fail cure them with all his strength, with all the healing power that is given to a doctor to bring back the patient's life and to restore him to good Sheet 19 health, that he may get up and walk about as strong as a pillar, his strength restored to its original state. Then when the time for payment comes, the doctor is given a minute reward on which he cannot live. It is the opposite of the text, "That thy brother may five with thee." That is the custom in force among us Jews because everyone to whom the name Jewish doctor applies is</page><page sequence="6">106 EMUNAT OMEN BY MEYER SCH?MBERG open to reproach. But when a gentile doctor is called he is respected. Honours are showered upon him. They bend and bow before him. He is greeted with golden hands. Gold pours from their pockets willingly in a show of opulence designed to spread their name and fame through all the people of the land. Go and see how the people behave and you will learn the truth. After I saw all this I decided to make myself free to be at the service of all who asked for me Sheet 20 and available to all who called me. Our Rabbis of blessed memory said in the Gemaraf "Turn your Sabbath into a weekday and do not be beholden to your fellows"; and elsewhere, in Bava Batra? "It is better for a man to do unusual work8 than to be beholden to his fellows"; and elsewhere, "Skin a carcass in the market place and do not say, I am Kahana".9 If in olden times when expense on food and sustenance was not great because people were satisfied with little, just enough to keep alive, and wore coarse garments, even then our Rabbis spoke in this way, "Skin a carcass, etc.", how much more so would they have held the same opinion in these countries where everyone, one and all, wears clean linen and choice clothes and lives liberally at great expense. Most certainly if our early sages had been able to look ahead and see the customs of these countries Sheet 21 they would have had a more lenient opinion on many matters so that no man would be shamed. Therefore we have to deem praiseworthy anyone who willingly undertakes work that is strange to him to sustain and feed bis house? hold. Besides this we can deplore the attitude of those people who keep their minds and hearts closed, in the matter of wearing of a sword on the Sabbath. In my opinion it is an adornment. Every student knows that Rabbi Eliezer is a Tanna and is entitled to hold bis opinion against the Rabbis in this matter, as he does in Gemara Shabbat,10 where he says, "I consider it an adornment to men of distinction." So it is in truth, especially in these countries where every? one agrees that it is an adornment for men of standing. Although the Din does not follow Rabbi Eliezer's opinion, nevertheless I can say that I follow bis opinion as he was great in bis own generation, as Talmudic scholars know, and I shall base myself on the great tree that he is. Of course if anyone wishes to follow the stricter ruling of the Rabbis who differ from me I do not object; on Sheet 22 the contrary may blessing be bis portion. But the truth of the matter is that, in this generation in which we find ourselves, it is not enough for us to accept events (?)n but we must use cunning and ingenuity in order to acquire blessings in a fitting and honourable way and thereby honourably to bring our households what they need so that we should not have recourse, God forbid, to the gifts of our fellow beings who give very litde but bring much disgrace upon us. I know that many speak in a different way and others in different ways again. Therefore to justify myself before men of good culture I have revealed what is in my mind, so that I should not be suspected of opinions I do not hold. As for those hypocritical simpletons who spread slanderous words and find fault in others, I shall show them no honour in public by answering them because God has already deprived them of honour. The upright and faithful righteous man, the man of religion and culture, should walk in a perfect path and do what is right in God's paths. He should not take to heart what fools and idiots say of him. They prate about everyone. The greatest rule that we have, according to religious and moral teaching, is that a Sheet 23 man should always do what is right and acquire good deeds. Let him walk in the paths of uprightness, and, whoever wishes to err and mock, let him err. His violence will recoil upon bis own head. A man should five and thrive on faith on this earth. Above all he should fear the Lord our God as He has commanded us (Deut. x, 20), "The Lord thy God thou shalt fear, Him thou</page><page sequence="7">EMUNAT OMEN BY MEYER SCH?MBERG 107 shalt serve and to Him thou shalt cleave, etc. . . ."; and there it is also said, Deut. x, 12, "And now, O Israel, what does the Lord thy God require of thee but to fear the Lord thy God with all thy might and with all thy soul." This saying is repeated in many other places, as is known to those who are acquainted with Scripture, and that pious man, King David, upon whom be peace, has so enjoined us, Psalms cxi, 10, when he said, "The beginning of wisdom is fear of the Lord. All those who follow it have good understanding. His praise is everlasting." He means by this that the foundation of the whole Torah&gt; the beginning, the middle and the end, by which religion is maintained, is the fear of God without which it is impossible to fulfil the commandments. Our sole aim should be to uphold this foundation. Furthermore in the passage, "All those who follow it have good understanding," "good understanding" means Sheet 24 behaving virtuously and ethically and practically. He must uphold both, and, when he does uphold both together so that they become one, then "His praise is everlasting" because all creatures will extol and laud Him on account of the fear due to Him and on account of his wisdom. AND HIS SON WHO CAME AFTER HIM, King Solomon in his Proverbs, Chapter i, verse 4, "The fear of the Lord is the begirming of knowledge. Fools despise wisdom and instruction," meant that the fear of God, which is the foundation that has been mentioned, is the beginning of wisdom and knowledge. But moral and practical ethical values, which are also fundamental and created and born from wisdom and knowledge, fools despise. They do not know the glory of moral laws and practical ethical values, because a fool's mind travels in darkness. By day he meets darkness and not light because he is not guided by the study of wisdom which would teach him morals and practical ethics. He has never seen the light in his life. Because his rriind is deprived of knowledge and understanding he does not distinguish the boundaries between situations or the situations themselves, and he imagines that he is judging situations and Sheet 25 laws according to his bitter and untutored palate which has no sense of taste or smell. About these and similar people it is said that fools despise ethical and moral values because they simply do not know its worth. Not so the golden mind of the wise man, the man who has acquired instruction and a sense of ethical value, who elevates by his upright ideas both laws and events, and knows how to divide and distinguish between the holy and the secular. The fear of God combined with wisdom and practical ethics is like a compass in the draughts? man's hand by which can be measured straight and parallel lines and those that are crooked and twisted. From these he can evoke for himself the best, for use when required, all by the fear of God which is the cornerstone at the basis of everything. The second foundation is the love of one's neighbour. These are the two chief pillars on which the house rests and on which strong buildings can be erected solidly, by which he exists in this world and by which he may earn the privilege of entering into a life of happiness in the world to come, Hving for ever. WHOEVER HAS A BRAIN Sheet 26 in his skull should strive above all to understand and recognise the existence of God, may He be blessed, and His true unity. Thereafter he should dwell in the perfect tents of the Torah and he will find it written and explained, not once or twice but in many places, that God has commanded us to love Him, to cleave</page><page sequence="8">108 EMUNAT OMEN BY MEYER SCH?MBERG to Him, and to walk in His ways. The voice of God says, Deut. v, 7, "Thou shalt keep the commandments of the Lord thy God, to walk in His ways and to fear Him", and elsewhere it is written for us, Deut, xxviii, 9,12 GOD WILL RAISE THEE UP AS HIS SPECIAL PEOPLE as He swore to you, "If thou shalt keep the commandments of the Lord thy God and walk in His ways." Our Rabbis of blessed memory explained this in detail in the Gemarah,13 "Is it possible for a man to walk in His ways and to cleave to Him and to walk in His ways ?" They answered thus: "Just as He is gracious, be you gracious; just as He is merciful, be you merciful, etc." To my Sheet 27 rnind, unworthy as it is, it seems that the wise man will understand this. He will seek out and enquire into the ways of God and the righteousness which He shows to man and he will try to become like his Creator in his upright and correct ways. Our first Patriarch sinned and lost his fragrance because he transgressed His commandments. Even so His kindness prevailed and He showed him kindness and dealt with him in His mercy and His abundant kind? ness, and He covered his flesh, not by the hand of an angel and not by the hand of a messenger, but THE HOLY ONE BLESSED BE HE IN HIS GLORY and in His own being, as is written. Genesis iii, 19, "And the Lord God made for the man and his wife garments of skin and He clothed them." This is the first righteous act and kindly deed that we find, by which the Unique One of the world acted to clothe the naked and cover their flesh showing them righteous? ness and kindness. So we should, like Him, walk in His ways and clothe and cover the flesh of those who are near to us but are poor and wretched, being without covering in the cold. Sheet 28 AGAIN we see that the Holy One, Blessed be He, in His mercies rescued our father Jacob from the violence of his brother Esau who planned to slay him, as is written, Genesis xxvii, 41: "And Esau said in his heart 'The days of mourning for my father are approaching that I may kill my brother Jacob'." But He who searches the heart and the inward parts, the righteous God, revealed the secret through His Holy Spirit to their mother Rebecca so that she would send him away and drive him off to Padan that his life might be saved from the sword. In the same way, we should liken ourselves to Him by rescuing our neighbour from his oppressor and we should rescue him both from damage to his property and from damage to his body, as it is said, "Thou shalt not stand by thy neigh? bour's blood." After the love and fear of God comes love for one's neighbour, as it is said, "And thou shalt love they neighbour as thyself; I am the Lord" who can be relied on to pay the due reward. AGAIN our Rabbis of blessed memory said that we find the Holy One, Blessed be He, visiting the sick for He came to visit our father Abraham on the third day after his circumcision. The Holy One, Blessed be He, came and asked after him, as it is said, Genesis xviii, 1, "The Sheet 29 Lord appeared to him by the oaks of Mamre, etc." In the same way a man should liken himself to his Owner by visiting the sick and showing them kindness and supporting them in the time of their need, just as the Holy One, Blessed be He, showed charity and kindness to our forefathers. He fed them and supplied their needs in the wilderness for forty years in a land that was not sown, with His strength and with His powerful arm. So man should try to do charity and kindness and feed the needy poor, giving them enough to sustain them whatever they may lack, even a child its proper food.</page><page sequence="9">EMUNAT OMEN BY MEYER SCH?MBERG 109 WE ALSO FIND AMONG THE RIGHTEOUS DEEDS of the Holy One, Blessed be He that he buried the dead as in the case of the death of our master, Moses our teacher, on whom be peace. He, as it were, in His glory and in His person, buried him, as it is said, Deut. xxxiv, 6, "And Moses died there in the valley in the land of Moab, etc." So man must show the dead true kindness by doing what is needful for them and by burying them, which is the true kindness. Sheet 30 THESE ARE THE PERFECT WAYS OF GOD in whose paths we have been directed to walk and to whom we have been directed to liken ourselves, and, when we walk in these paths, surely, without a doubt, we shall come to cleave to Him and to His Tor ah and to His salvation. Whoever does so, Hving thereby and not dying thereby, without a doubt recognizes His unity and fears Him. And if these things are precious in the eyes of the Lord and He delights in them, how much more so are we obliged to live properly, in the sight of God. AFTER THE FEAR OF THE LORD VERY NEAR AND CLOSE TO IT COMES THE LOVE OF ONE'S NEIGHBOUR AS WE HAVE BEEN COMMANDED to love him, as it is said, Leviticus xix, 19,14 "And thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself." It would be impossible to exaggerate the importance of this corn Sheet 31 mandment by using any words other than "as thyself." All the good that you desire for yourself, that you should also desire for your neighbour, and that great sage, Ben Sira,15 said, "What is hateful to you do not do to your friend." This commandment is fundamental to the whole Torah and on it hang and exist all the other commandments. As Rabbi Akiva said, " 'And thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself,' is one of the Torah's great rules." BEHOLD this we have investigated and it is so, the very essence of faith (Emunat Omen), that the wise and perfect man should know that his absolutely first duty is to believe that there is a God, an existent being that brought into existence everything that is before our eyes. Do not in haste ask the philosophers' question whether matter existed first or not. Of these investigations and enquiries and the like the sage has already said, "Do not enquire into what is set apart from thee and do not investigate what is covered from thee."16 It is enough for us to know that there is a God, one and unified. He is the Maker. He is the Creator. He is prior to all beginnings. He poises the earth in empty space. He guides the universe with kindness and mercy and perfect faith subject to the laws and times that He has allocated to every created Sheet 32 thing according to His desire and His will. He guides the universe with the attributes of love and mercy. This straightforward faith will bring man fear and direct his heart to the service of God, the Maker of light and the Creator of everything. If he will investigate natural philosophy and look at His creations, the work of His fingers, plants and growths like the rose or any like flower; if he will investigate its perfection, its beautiful colour, the pleasure it brings to the sense of sight, its fragrant smell bringing its own pleasure to the senses and its healing leaves; then he will inevitably establish that there is one existent God. If he will raise his eyes to the heavens above and see the sun and the moon and the stars in their paths and all the hosts of heaven whose place is on high, then inevitably he will testify to the wondrous works of Him who is perfect in knowledge. Concerning this investigation David said, "Truth will sprout from</page><page sequence="10">110 EMUNAT OMEN BY MEYER SCH?MBERG the earth/' whereby he means that in the plant that grows before you in a field, the truth will be recognized that there is a God that created everything for His glory. If it please you to look heavenwards and see and consider the manner Sheet 33 of the circuits and the revolutions of the planets and the like, then you will see that He was indeed righteous who created them and appointed to them all such laws and times that they should never change their duty. That is the meaning of the saying, "Righteousness looks down from heaven." And when a man investigates all this it is impossible that he should not come to fear the name of the honourable and awful Being who brought them into existence. IN OUR PERFECT TORAH we find 613 commandments of which some concern religion and some behaviour. There is no doubt that both groups are the words of the Living God. All of them were given from one source for man's salvation and his soul's advantage. But our lord, King David, upon whom be peace, came and reduced them to eleven principles.17 He taught us this in one of his Psalms, the fifteenth, where he poses questions and answers them properly. "O LORD who shall dwell in Thy tent, who shall abide on Thy holy mountain ? (1) He who walks perfectly, (2) DOES JUSTICE, (3) SPEAKS TRUTH IN HIS HEART, Sheet 34 (4) does not keep slander on his Hps, (5) does no evil to his neighbour, (6) nor heaps disgrace upon his companion; (7) whoever is despicable is despised in his eyes; (8) he honours those that fear God; (9) if he has sworn to his own hurt he does not change; (10) (note especially) he does not put out his money to usury, (11) not take a bribe against an innocent man." He finishes thus: "Whoever does these w?l never be moved." This is to be understood as applying both to this world and to the next world. He has already promised this at the begirming of the Psalm when he said, "WTio shaU dweU in Thy tent, who shaU Hve in Thy holy mountain?" which appHes to eternal life. FoUowing that he set forth the principles. AFTER HIM CAME THE PROPHET Isaiah and reduced them to six, as foUows, Isaiah xxxni, 15-16, (1) He who walks in righteousness, (2) speaks uprightly, (3) loathes the profit that comes from oppression, (4) shakes his hands free of bribery, (5) closes his ears to bloodshed, (F) AND SHUTS HIS EYES FROM THE SIGHT OF EVIL. Sheet 35 THESE ARE THE WORDS THAT WERE UTTERED BY THE LIPS OF A SAINT telling us that we have a promise from our God, who is in heaven, that aU who fulfil these things will come and go with blessings, w?l see the pleasant places of the Lord, and be a visitor in His Temple. He said in the next verse: "He dweUs on high, His fortress is among the fastnesses of the rocks, His bread is given, His waters do not fail," and in the next verse, "Your eyes w?l behold the King in His beauty." I have shown you with your own eyes that it is expHcitly stated that whoever fulfils these six principles is assured of sustenance and maintenance throughout his Hfe (for that is what is meant by bread and water) and eternal happiness in the next world, when he may look on the face of the King, the Living God, and King of the Universe. Afterwards came Micah the prophet and reduced them to three principles, as he says, Micah vi, 8, "He has told thee, O Man, what is good; what does the Lord require of thee Sheet 36 but to do justice and (2) love kindness and (3) walk modestly with your God."</page><page sequence="11">Plate 11 Text of Emunat Omen</page><page sequence="12">?**"Mnta ?mmro -aim vr^iaort -mim 'OtopN paw ? 'hoptbtrmw qpivw or ? uatt* b?*u* wtonrrwcujhum vi wvwno 1 21l"(llVlvf&gt;f a pnyi n a a psun npua *nc VI ? ; Plate 12 Text of Emunat Omen</page><page sequence="13">m fTi^B V^^W *Qti&amp; TtF** JtlflW 31 3. P?f wmw&amp;w&amp;v nun* I *ri^pf ?'I'juf'jiiA runs wo 33 SI 32 Plate 13 Text of Emunat Omen</page><page sequence="14">m0?M :? 27 26 T^WIM? ^ i*Vjc *^im corona *?orr* vrnvyVwH 29 K-""'". *t6 28 Plate 14 Text of Emunat Omen</page><page sequence="15">TOO TJ? ??wocwp 23 22 25 ft..:; 24 Plate 15 Text of Emunat Omen</page><page sequence="16">21 m 20 Plate 16 Text of Emunat Omen</page><page sequence="17">icnwrmo** ? -JM 14 nrcrmfc Plate 17 Text of Emunat Omen 16</page><page sequence="18">' ^^^^^^^^ ^ \ ii lT Ii ^T^TT^^^g onqyirwaix aa nun uww V , Tr* ^V^^ i y-mamao ?talari? wo . X*^*1^'11?3111 Plate 18 Text of Emunat Omen</page><page sequence="19">. ^_ ^_ ? ?B^kJ HHAit ^^^^^^ IWK Will1 TOW J^Wf rtSKO TTHH* Plate 19 Text of Emunat Omen</page><page sequence="20">Plate 20 Text of Emunat Omen</page><page sequence="21">2 Plate 21 Text of Emunat Omen</page><page sequence="22">EMUNAT OMEN BY MEYER SCH?MBERG 111 The text tells you that He requires and desires of His creatures only good deeds by the doing of justice and love of kindness and modest behaviour, for these are deeds by which, if a man does them, he may live, and be near to and cleave to Him. CAME Habakkuk the prophet and reduced them to one, as he said, Habakkuk ii, 4, "And the righteous man shall live by his faith." Go back again and see what the prophet Zechariah said, viz. These things you shall do, speak truth to one another, with truth and the justice of peace judge in your gates. Do not think evil in your heart about your neighbour. Do not love a false oath. All these I hate, says the Lord. THESE ARE the foundations and the roots which it is impossible to deny because they are at the root of everything that was uttered to us by the mouth of God, through the medium of His Prophets as I have described. Whoever wishes to slake his thirst should look into all that I have written. It is quoted Sheet 37 in the Gemarah at the end of Tractate Makkot, for the masters of the Talmud also uphold and confirm these matters and lay the foundation by which we may arrive at the desirable good both bodily and spiritual and at the final goal. If that is so, who is there and where is he, the simpleton and the fool, who will be so brazen-faced as to speak in his neighbour's contempt and find fault with a man of worth who walks in these paths and fulfils the fundamentals, the prin? ciples and the roots which are essential, true and proper for those that have found knowledge and follow it ? It is he who walks in the upright ways of God and cleaves to Him. All that is written and explained above is the very essence of faith (Emunat Omen) and the foundation of all foundations for a man of religious behaviour and moral practices who loves God and fears Him. That is the first thing, and the second is the love of one's neighbour. About fulfilling Sheet 38 these things the boaster may boast, as the prophet Jeremiah said, ix, 24,18 "About this may the boaster boast: that he puts his mind to knowing me; for I am the Lord who does kindness, justice and righteousness in the land, and in these I delight says the Lord." May His name be blessed and glorified for ever and ever AND TO ALL ETERNITY. 1. Zephon = hidden, so that Ba'al Zephon = the god of hidden hoards. 2. A pun may be intended. The Hebrew may be read to mean make off as a fugitive. 3. cf. Bava MetsVa 58b. 4. Sanhedrin 82a. 5. Bava Metsi'a 107b. 6. Shabbat 118a. 7. 110a. 8. The Hebrew Avoda Zara may mean either idolatry or unusual work. 9. Pesahim 113a. 10. 63a. 11. The text is here obscure. 12. Slightly misquoted. 13. cf. Sotah 14a. 14. The reference should be to Leviticus xix, 18. 15. The saying is attributed in Shabbat 31a to Hillel. 16. Ascribed to the Book of Ben Sira in Hagigah 13a. 17? The following exposition is similar to that of Rabbi Simlai in Makkot 23b-24a. 18. This reference accords with the Authorized Version. In Jewish versions the verse is numbered ix, 23. Acknowledgements The translator is grateful to the late Mr. Wilfred S. Samuel, for whom the translation was in the first instance prepared, to Rabbi Dr. A. Altmann, to Mr. Edgar R. Samuel, and to Mr. A. Schischa for many helpful suggestions leading to the elucidation of difficult points.</page></plain_text>

bottom of page