The massive stone idol continued its earsplitting shriek.


The calls became louder and louder until everyone in the street came to a complete stop.

“We have to get out of here, Yochanan!” Chaim whispered to his friend.

“RUN!” Chaim replied, grabbing Yochanan and racing down the street toward the Jewish neighborhood.

“Look over there!” a young boy shouted, pointing at the two Jewish businessmen. “Those must be the Jews! They’re trying to disguise themselves with those robes!”

“You’re not allowed to be here!” barked a mean-looking merchant, stepping in front the men so that their escape route was cut off. “Did you think you could trick us with that disguise?”

“The Jews are the reason our economy is sinking!” another person shouted.

“Yes, how dare they come into our neighborhood!” another bystander cried.

A massive crowd swarmed around Yochanan and Chaim.

“Ouch! Stop! Please!” The two men hunched over and covered their heads with their hands as the crowd began pelting them with objects. An entire carton of tomatoes was dumped over their shoulders and a pitcher of dirty water poured on their heads.

The two friends saw a brief opening in the crowd and took their chance. Leaving their robes on the street behind them, they raced past the aggressive mob and did not stop running until they were in the safety of their own community.

The news of the evil idol spread rapidly through the Jewish Quarter. Not everyone believed Yochanan and Chaim and some risked entering the city the next day. This time the gentiles did not only throw food, but used their fists as well.

Elaborate disguises were designed to fool the Evil Eye, but the idol saw right through them. Families were running out of food to eat and businessmen were losing a tremendous amount of money each day. Something had to be done, but what?

The next day, at San Juan de los Reyes Temple.

“Padre Peter, we have a newcomer at the door,” a little boy said to the old priest sitting at a table full of disciples as they studied from old tombs.

“I’m not surprised,” Peter said with a smug smile. “The wisdom of my teachings has spread from one end of Italy to the other. Every day new faces appear at my monastery, thirsty to soak in the truths of our holy religion.”

The boy left the room only to reappear a moment later.

“You aren’t a young man!” Peter stood up from his chair in surprise at the stranger who had entered the room. “Surely an old, bearded person such as yourself has no need for a teacher.”

“I may not be young, but my mind is still full of questions and I am thirsting for answers,” the stranger replied, stroking his long beard. He wore a long robe, similar to the robes worn in the Christian temples, but unlike Peter, his face seemed to shine with a holy light.

“Well, I’d be lying if I said there wasn’t much I could teach you!” Peter replied, puffing out his chest. “Take a seat alongside my disciples and let us see if I can answer some of the questions that have been weighing on your mind.”

(Excerpted from Mishpacha Jr., Issue 722)