Commentary on Serah bat Asher (IFA 9524)

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Serah bat Asher IFA 9524 Narrated by Eliyahu Modgorashwili (Georgia) T he king of the nations, when he wanted to ridicule the Jews, used to issue decrees that would shame them. That day he issued three decrees: 1. That they shall put on funny hats on their heads so that they will be mocked. 2. That they shall wear funny clothes so that they will be laughed at. 3. That they shall wear funny shoes, one red, one black. He issued these decrees, and the Jews were ashamed to go out. Once the king went out into the forest, saw a deer, and chased after it, because they (the gentiles ) desired game. The deer was running away, and he chased it, but to no avail. Afterward the deer stopped on one spot. It turned and looked at the king’s face, went toward him quickly, and jumped on his head. When it jumped on the king’s head, his troops saw it. The king lifted his hands but did not catch it. The king felt ashamed in front of his troops. He had almost had the deer in his hands. Then the king chased the deer with his horses for a few kilometers, but his troops didn’t see the king because he was far away from them. Afterward the deer ran into a cave that was situated between the rocks, and the king followed it. The cave had a door, and it shut behind him. Inside there was another door. When the deer entered, the door opened, but when the king chased after it, the door didn’t open for him, and he was left under lock and key in the dark. Two days passed, and the king was still left in the dark. His soldiers began searching for him. Their search didn’t help in anyway, and they didn’t find him. After two days the king suddenly saw a beautiful young woman—­ a female soldier—­ coming out of the dark with her troops. The darkness lit, and he suddenly saw her and her troops. The female soldier called out to the king to approach her. She said to him: “Do you know me?” The king said: “No, I don’t know you.” She said to him: “I am the deer you were chasing, after I jumped on your head and you didn’t catch me.” “Now,” she said to him: “Why did you impose such a decree on the Jews?” Afterward the king asked her: “Who are you?” Serah bat Asher 115 She answered him: “I am Serah, the daughter of Asher. My uncles went to Egypt, and Joseph, my uncle, introduced himself to his brothers. After a few days, when they got acquainted with each other, they returned home [lit. to the country, i.e. the Land of Canaan]. My uncles called me, and they said to me: ‘Play your harp because Joseph the Righteous is alive.’And I took my harp and started to play, and I sang a song: ‘My father, my father, Joseph is still alive, and he rules the entire land of Egypt.’Afterward my father [Asher] told me that when I started playing that Joseph was still alive, the Shekhinah, the divine presence, rested upon me, and he knew that Joseph was alive. And then he blessed me: ‘May you be granted life in the Garden of Eden.’ Angels took me, alive, and put me in the Garden of Eden, and I did not taste death.” And afterward the king said to Serah that he would cancel the decrees against the Jews. He promised her that, and she released him from the cave, from the darkness, and he kept his promise and canceled the decrees. When the king returned home, he invited all the Jews. It was on the Shabbat evening, and he invited all the Jews to him and said to them: “You will keep the Shabbat as you have been accustomed to until now, in joy.”
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Power of a Tale
Subtitle of host publicationStories from the Israel Folktale Archives
EditorsHaya Bar-Itzhak, Idit Pintel-Ginsberg
Place of PublicationDetroit
PublisherWayne State University Press
Number of pages7
ISBN (Electronic)9780814342091
ISBN (Print)9780814342084
StatePublished - Nov 2019

Publication series

NameRaphael Patai Series in Jewish Folklore and Anthropology
PublisherWayne State University Press


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