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with a current so strong and rapid as to carry along with it, and throw up, sand and even stones; but which ceases and dries up at the commencement of the seventh day, and remains dry till the sabbath is over. The rabbies are not all agreed as to the situation of this river: some place it on the borders of Ethiopia ; some, in India. * Menasseh Ben Israel says: The river Sambation is 'near the Caspian sea ; and many ancient writers · have asserted the same.' The sand of this river is said to retain its turbulent quality on other days, and its habit of quiescence on the sabbath, even when it is removed into another country. Menasseh says: “Rabbi Mordecai Japheh confirms this, by,
saying, that some one had a glass vessel full of
that sand, which, during all the working days, .. was in perpetual motion, but rested on the
sabbath. I, in like manner, do testify that,
according to the testimony which I had from my · father of blessed memory, and which is a certain • truth; for it is impossible that a father should
relate falsehoods to his children: he has often * told me that in the city of Lisbon, in the kingdom
of Portugal, there was a Moor who had a glass ( vessel full of that sand. I have also been in( formed in relation to this matter by Rabbi Meir, 'a physician, that he had seen a Black-moor with ' a glass vessel, standing before a Turkish mosque
* Talmud. Cod. Sanhedrin, p. 65. c. 2. Beresh. Rabba, parash. 11. Elias Thisbites, ad vocem Sambation. Abraham Peritsol in Orchoth Olam, cap. ix. XV. xxiv. Tsemach David, ad vocem Sambation. Et alii, apud Bartoloc. Bib. Rab, tom. i. p. 100—119.
† Mikveh Israel, f. 40. c. 2. cit. in Stehelin, vol. ii. p. 154.
,' in the city of Aleppo: but the judge, passing 'by, asked the Moor about it, and reproved him,
saying he had done wrong in making a shew of that glass, because it was a confirmation of the
Jewish Sabbath.'* The reader will remember that Menasseh lived as late as the seventeenth century.
If we were inclined to regard this fabulous river as a romance of superstitious ages, now become obsolete and no longer believed by the members of the synagogue, we are forbidden to entertain such an idea, by the express language of one of their prayers. “On the sabbath that food (the manna)
did not descend; the necromancers were not "answered on that day: remember that on it the 'incomprehensible river resteth. An explanatory note by the Editor says : “ This denotes the river 51190and (Sambation ) said to rest on the sabbath
from throwing up stones, &c. which it does all the week. See Sanhedrin, fol. 65. col. 2. Yalkut con Isaiah, fol. 52. 1. Pesikta, Tanchuma, sect.
xwn 3–See also Shalsheleth Hakkabala, and - Juchsin.'— This passage and note are copied from page 81 of an Edition of the Prayers for the Feast of Pentecost, in Hebrew and English, published in the year 1807, with the approbation and support of the principal members of the German Synagogue in London.
* Mikveh Israel, f. 38. c. 2. ibid. p. 156.
CHAPTER XIV. Traditions concerning Jesus of Nazareth : - Toldoth
Yeshu :- Two Books with this Title.— The Miracles of Jesus said by the Jews to have been performed by the Power of the Shem-hamphorash :-Absurdity of this Pretence.
THE rabbies have employed all the means which enmity and ingenuity could supply, to perpetuate and strengthen the prejudices of their nation against the Christian religion. Among other hostilities, they have left no artifice untried to render the very name of its Founder an object of abhorrence. Finding his character unimpeachable by the testimony of truth, they have adopted the nefarious policy of his pharisaic and sadducean persecutors by resorting to the fabrications of falsehood. Unable to disprove or invalidate the histories of the evangelists, they have endeavoured to supplant them: and spurious narratives, which pretend to recount the circumstances of the birth, life, and death of Jesus of Nazareth, have been imposed upon the deluded members of the synagogue, from age to age, down to the present day.
In imitation of the superscription of St. Matthew's Gospel, one of these productions has been entitled Sepher Toldoth Yeshu, or Jeshu, * The Book of the Generation of Jesus. This has been published, the original Hebrew and a Latin version in
* ספר תולדות ישו
parallel columns, together with a refutation, by Wagenseil. * Another book, written with the same design, and bearing the same title, but differing from the former in various particulars, has been published in a small volume, accompanied with a Latin version and a refutation, by Huldric.of
The Jews have been exceedingly careful to conceal these books from the eyes of Christians; and since copies of them have been obtained, and published to the world, they have very generally disowned them. But a writer in a late periodical work, says: "The Toldoth Yeshu is of universal 'circulation among the Jews: in fact, their chil
dren are taught it like nursery tales, and thence 'imbibe that inveterate prejudice against the his
torical relations of the gospels, which is so difficult 'to eradicate from their minds in more advanced (years. For the answer is always the same: You believe all this; but we know better: we have
the real history of Jesus, and it contains such ' things as we must not mention. In another number of the same work, it is said: “The Jews • are anxious to make the Christian public believe, * that they place no reliance upon these publi'cations : but it is notorious that, throughout * Europe, they are in general circulation, though
* This volume contains several other Jewish Tracts against Christ and Christianity, and is entitled, Tela Ignea Satanæ, sive Arcani et horribiles Judæorum, adversus Christum Deum, et Christianam Religioncm, libri. Alldorf. 1681.
+ Liber Toldoth Jeschu, cum versione et refutatione, á Jac. Huldric. Lugdun. Balav. 1705.
covertly; and even where the books themselves • are not known, the relations they contain are
received and transmitted by tradition, as au" thentic.'*
A writer in another work, having observed that the Jews of the present day affect to deny any • knowledge, or at least any present use of this • book among them,' proceeds to say: 'but let any • candid and honest Jew declare what authority he • refers to, when, upon being pressed with the • history of our Saviour in the four gospels, he • will tell you, as we have frequently been told,
that the Jews have another and better account of • the birth, life, and death of Jesus. It is to the • Toldoth Yeshu, absurd and outrageous to common • sense as it is, that they allude, and whence they • draw their belief.'of The pretensions of the Jews to a more correct knowledge of the history of Jesus than can be derived from the four evangelists, I have myself had an opportunity of witnessing; and till, at least, they exhibit the authority upon which these pretensions are founded, they must excuse our considering their disavowals of the Toldoth Yeshu as not entitled to any credit.
The reasons for believing the existence and use of such narratives among the Jews of the present day, is strongly corroborated by the following circumstance. A respectable Israelite whom I have already had occasion to quote, in a letter written
* Jewish Repository, vol. iii. p. 253. p. 3. Vide etiam Wolf. Bib. Heb. tom. ji. p. 1443—1449.
+ Leslie's Short and easy Method with the Jews, London, 1812. p. 3. Note by the Editor.