THE CHARACTERS

Pinchas: A poor scholar

Rachel: His poor wife

Moshe, Yaakov: His sons

Dina, Leah: His Daughters

Duke Rudolf: A nobleman

Janosh:The Duke’s secretary

Joerg: The Duke’s servant



ACT I - SCENE I

scene: The palace of Duke Rudolf.

The DUKE sits at his desk, working over papers, talking with his two servants JANOSH and JOERG. Through the open window they hear the voice of Pinchas:

Pinchas: Old cloths, old clothes! Who sells old clothes!

Janosh: (Aside to Joerg) There goes that Jewish peddler again. I bet he comes here to collect his weekly allowance from our good-natured master.

(Pinchas knocks at the door)

Duke: See who it is. (Janosh looks out. Returns)

Janosh: The Jew Pinchas has come to draw his weekly allowance from the kindness of your noble soul.

Duke: Hush, Janosh! Pinchas is a good and wise man who deserves the little help I give him. Without it he would never be able to celebrate his Sabbath.

Janosh: He does not seem very grateful, though. Whenever he collects his money, he thanks his G‑d, instead of thanking you, the noble lord who feeds the hungry mouth of his children.

Duke: Guard your words, Janosh. You know very well that Pinchas is a grateful man and that he blesses me a thousand times for the few coins that I give him. Somehow my business always turns out better after his blessings. He is a pious man and G‑d must love him.

Janosh: (Aside) Really, why then is he so poor!

Duke: Stop mumbling. Bring in the Jew!

(Janosh goes out, brings in Pinchas, a Jew with a long beard, dressed in shabby clothes, an almost empty sack on his back.)

Duke: (to Pinchas, waiting respectfully at the door) Come here, Pinchas, tell me how was business this week?

Pinchas: Your Honor, may G‑d pour His blessings on you, and all your business undertakings. I am glad that the Almighty permits me and my family to live, with the help of your gracious highness. For no one wants to sell old clothes these days.

Duke: How much did you earn this week?

Pinchas: Only a kreutzer and a half.

Duke: Well, here is four more kreutzer. Go home and see that your wife prepares the Sabbath properly.

Pinchas: Praised be G‑d who gives unto His children their daily needs! (His face turns heavenward , then turning back to the duke) A thousand thanks to your highness. My family and I shall never cease to bless you from the depths of our grateful hearts.

Duke: Do not thank me, Pinchas. Hurry home now. Your wife must be waiting for you.

Pinchas: (As he walks away, bowing several times) A thousand thanks and blessings, noble sir!

Janosh: (After Pinchas is gone) Well, your highness, did he thank you, when you gave him the money?

Duke: He thanked me more than the whole thing is worth.

Janosh: But not until he thanked his G‑d.

Duke: I am perfectly satisfied. Don’t look for trouble, Janosh!