Friday, November 23, 2012

Rebekah's Life in Poland

As everyone started getting the house ready for supper, Rebekah thought out loud, “K and F, K is the eleventh letter in the alphabet and F is the sixth. K is shown on the left side and F is below. Perhaps this gives us an offset from wherever the bellows is. Heinrich listened attentively as he set the table; his impression of Rebekah grew with every point she was making. Rebekah asked, “What is the wall made of?” Heinrich replied, “It’s a brick wall, and (at this point his voice and enthusiasm began to escalate as he saw the logic of this coming together) bricks are rectangular! I just have to count over 11 bricks and down 6 to get to the…” He paused for a second and then inserted what he thought would be a perfect dramatic ending, “hidden treasure!” Everyone laughed; Sarah with plates in her arms, Rebekah with candle sticks, and Freyda with a pot, until Rebekah said to Heinrich, “you’re quite the romantic!” Heinrich bowed towards Rebekah and said, “I have you to thank for that.” Rebekah blushed and said, “I hope you find your treasure.” Heinrich wanted to say ‘I already have’, but changed it to: “perhaps I will.” 

Supper was enjoyable and everyone congregated near the fire on this brisk spring evening. Sarah asked Rebekah, “Tell us more about your life in Poland.” Rebekah began a quick mental sorting of all that could be said and then began with a cautious smile, “First of all, life under the Polish leader Zygmunt I is much better for Jews than anywhere in Europe.  Jews are given respect and protection under the law. Krakow is becoming a center for Jewish learning and study; there are many fine Yeshivot there. I’ve already said that my father was the head administrator of an estate in Krakow. He was also a prominent member of our local synagogue. As he began his study of Yeshua and the New Testament, he kept his activities as secret as possible, but somehow it became known. About a year ago some members of our assembly asked him about it. He did not deny it and a storm of protest erupted. He lost his position in the synagogue and life became unbearable for our family. I cannot prove this, but his death was not from natural causes; in fact, I’m sure he was murdered, though it was done in such a manner that there was no physical evidence of violence. Perhaps it was through poisoning; all I know is that he was, just like your father, healthy one day and dead the next. 

Like most Jewish girls, I was betrothed to a Jewish boy from an upstanding Jewish family. When word of my father’s betrayal, as they saw it, became public, the arrangement was cancelled. My mother and I had all we could do to save our possessions and lives after he died. Our benefactor at the estate was kind enough to help us settle our affairs, but we eventually had to move to another place which was substantially smaller and of lesser quality. Fortunately, our father had saved some money and it has been our main source of income, though that will probably end soon enough. My mother has not shared my father’s interest in the truth of these things; she would just as soon have stayed where she was. In a way I can’t blame her, it was a pleasant enough world while it lasted. So this cause of exposing Yeshua as the true Messiah has come at a great cost to us. At times I resent the intrusion and change it has meant for us. Jews have enough persecution from the world; it is very hard to take it from your fellow Jews. We are truly alone; like the prophet Jeremiah, we bear the humiliation and sorrow that goes with service. I’ve enjoyed myself here very much; you have been so kind and it has been very peaceful; I’m going to miss it. But, I have decided to leave this Sunday; I need to get back to my mother. Not to mention I probably pose a danger to you as well.  I’ve accomplished all of the things that I came to do and I have the other members of the network to reach. We’ll see what more Heinrich can come up with tomorrow.” With that she stopped speaking.

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