The People in the Books: Hebraica and Judaica Manuscripts from Columbia University Libraries

Communities > A miracle in Saragosa

Megilat Saragosa. Beginning of scroll


Megilat Saragosa.
Manuscript scroll in Hebrew, on parchment.
Ca. 17th century.
General MS 160
Rare Book and Manuscript Library

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The scroll relates the tale of the miraculous salvation of the Jewish community of Saragossa, Spain (or Syracuse, on the island of Sicily, according to some scholars). Following tradition, in 1420, the Jews prepared to honor the king by parading the beautiful cases of their communal Torah scrolls before him. Seeking to malign the Jewish community, an informer told the king that the Jews were feting him with empty cases while the sacred scrolls themselves remained in the synagogue.  The king’s wrath was averted when the synagogue’s beadle was warned in a dream by the Prophet Elijah and replaced the scrolls within their cases. The miracle was commemorated by the writing of a scroll and the institution of other practices reminiscent of the biblical holiday of Purim.


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