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Haggadah-Wicked Son-Apter Rav

The 5th of Nisan is the Yahrtzeit of Rav Avraham Yehoshua Heshel of Apt, the Ohev Yisrael. The Apter told the following tale: Once a Jew came to a village to purchase grain. The Countess who owned the town was a widow. Meeting the Jew, who was of handsome countenance and form, she fell deeply in love with him. She persuaded him to divorce his wife, become a Christian and marry her. The Jew succumbed to the temptation, and his Christian wife gave him the title of Count.


A few years later when the nobility were assembled in the capital to sit in the Sejm, (The Polish Senate), one nobleman declared that a Christian girl had disappeared in his town, and he accused the Jews of having killed her for ritual purposes. Other noblemen added similar tales and affirmed that Christian blood was in constant demand that the ceremonies of Jews. The King became enraged and issued an edict that all the Jews be banished from Poland. According to the Polish Constitution, every edict had to be signed by all members of the Sejm in addition to the King. If there was a single dissenter, the edict was nullified.

The former Jew, one of the members of the Sejm, now that he was officially a Count, placed his veto on the decree, stating that the “Blood Accusation” was entirely without foundation in fact, notwithstanding the manifold repetitions of the accusation throughout the centuries, and despite the fact that the alleged victims had been canonized by the popes. The edict was destroyed, and the King vigorously reprimanded the nobleman who had brought the accusation.

Since one precept, when performed draws another in its train (Avot 4:2),” it transpired that the Jewish Count repented of his life as a Christian. He consulted a Rabbi, escaped to Amsterdam, and commenced to lead the Jewish life anew. Soon after this event the Countess died; the penitent remarried his Jewish wife, and henceforth lived as a pious and loyal Jew. (P’eir Yisrael, page 7)

The Wicked Child’s question indicates some level of participation; he is doing a Mitzvah, and, “one precept, when performed draws another in its train,” so this is an opportunity to guide him in performing another positive action.

iPray-iThank-Morning Blessings: We recite a long series of blessings. Approach each as a Mitzvah that is following the preceding blessing.

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