Sacred Texts  Judaism  Index  Previous  Next 

p. 201


"GODFREY of Bouillon has ordered you to come before him," the soldiers of Godfrey commanded. But Rashi refused to go. So the soldiers returned and reported this to Godfrey. Godfrey was greatly upset by this, but nevertheless he thought:

"I guess that little rabbi is afraid of me. I will go down myself and make him feel sure that I mean no harm."

When Godfrey came to Rashi's school, he went right into the school, for all the doors were open. He walked in expecting, of course, to find someone there. But to his great surprise, though every door was open, he saw no one.

Can you guess what had happened? As soon as Godfrey came in, Rashi, through his magic power, had made himself invisible.

Godfrey walked first into one room, then into another

p. 202


Click to enlarge


p. 203

room until he had gone through the whole school building. He couldn't believe that Rashi would be so foolish as to leave all the doors open and go away. At last, after he had looked all over, he called out:

"Rashi, are you anywhere in the building? Rashi, Rashi. This is Godfrey of Bouillon calling you. Do you hear me?" To his great astonishment, Godfrey heard a voice answer:

"Here I am. What does my master want?" Godfrey turned and looked all over the room. He rubbed his eyes again and again to make sure that he was seeing straight. He became frightened, for he surely did not see anybody in the room.

"What's this?" he called out angrily. "Is some devil making fun of me?" And again Godfrey called:

"Rashi, where are you? Do you know that this is Godfrey of Bouillon calling you? Then what is this joke you are trying to play on me?"

But again a voice answered from nowhere, "Here I am. What is it my master wants?"

By now Godfrey was so angry that he went out of the school and started homeward. At the same time, he made up his mind that if he ever found Rashi he would kill him.

No sooner had Godfrey left the school than he met one of Rashi's pupils.

p. 204

"Please go and tell your teacher to come before me. Surely no harm shall come to him."

When Rashi was sure that Godfrey meant no harm, he came and stood before Godfrey.

"You are a great scholar, Rashi, and every one has heard of your wisdom. Can you tell me then, whether I shall be victorious on this crusade which I am about to begin? Tell me truthfully, for you will surely not be punished for whatever you say."

After a pause Rashi answered slowly, "You will capture the city of Jerusalem and you will be king over Jerusalem for three days, but on the fourth day the Moslems will put you to flight. And when you come back, you will be left with only three horses."

At this announcement, Godfrey became red with anger. This was so different from the glorious victory he had planned.

When his anger passed so that he could speak again, he said:

"If this does come true, and if I return with only one more horse than you say, your body will be thrown to the dogs, and all the Jews of France will be killed."

For a number of years Godfrey was fighting in Jerusalem. When he returned to France he had three soldiers with him, just as Rashi had said, but four horses instead of three. Godfrey was, of course, very

p. 205

angry and disappointed. He had not succeeded in capturing Jerusalem and remaining there, as he had hoped, and so he was angry with the world. With a mean glare in his eyes, he was thinking:

"Four horses, that is one more than three, and I will take my revenge on that Rashi!"

Just as Godfrey was entering Troyes, the city where Rashi lived, a large rock from the heavy gate dislodged itself and fell upon one of the soldiers. And lo, both the soldier and his horse were killed. And so Godfrey was left with only three horses just as Rashi had told him before.

"A miracle, a miracle!" called out Godfrey, who was quite beside himself. "The prophecy of Rashi is fulfilled!"



Next: 35. Flying from the Roofs