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Descriptive Geography and Brief Historical Sketch of Palestine

By Rabbi Joseph Schwarz, 1850

The Wall of Paradise.

There raged at one time a frightful epidemic among the Mahomedans in Palestine, whilst nearly all the Jews were spared. This circumstance excited such envy and hatred among the former, that they resolved to kill all the Jews; but they [the Jews] were secretly informed of this design. But what could these unprotected people do to stay the fury of the inhuman monsters? They therefore sought safety in the all-powerful material, which is so potent from sunrise to sunset—money. They promised the Kadi a considerable sum if he would frustrate the evil design. He ordered the Jews to remain quiet and without fear, and he would promise to grant their request.

The succeeding day he preached a sermon to the people, telling them that he had been grieved a considerable time, and wondered why only the pious Mussulmans were so terribly visited, whilst the unbelievers were spared. But the preceding night Mahomet had appeared to him in a dream, and comforted him by saying, “Take courage, thou faithful believer! know that for these several years past, the wall of Paradise needeth repairing; but this year it fell down altogether. In order to rebuild it quickly, the labour of many believers is needed; this, therefore, has caused the great mortality among the faithful. It is therefore clear that the unbelievers must be spared, for they cannot be permitted to enter paradise.” When the Mahomedans had heard this joyful news from the mouth of their holy preacher, they were rejoiced, and wished even to die, and they desisted from their purpose of laying hands on the Jews, because they were not worthy to die in the general mortality, as perhaps, through the crowd of the deceased hurrying onward, some of the unbelievers might by accident attain to the dignity of being admitted among the labourers on the Paradise wall.*

* If the pious Germans, French, and Spaniards had had likewise such correspondents from Paradise, when, in the year 5108 (1348), a fearful plague raged also among them, and spared the Jews (see Zemach David, part 2, year 5108,) who might have informed them that the wall of Paradise had then fallen down, and pious Christians were wanted to repair it, surely those frightful slaughters and persecutions would not have taken place. Perhaps the Mahomedans are nigher to Paradise than the others, since they have several correspondents there.

Jews and Muslims in Palestine