îøëæ ñéôåøé òí åôåì÷ìåø
C. F. F
A comic by
Yoel Shalom Perez
(Please follow from right to left)
copyrights: Yoel Perez
The heroes of the story:
Don Chaim Abukafia
Brave, fearless hero / A champion at the chess game / Always ready for every task / No one can frighten him / He is not afraid to jump into fire / And climb mountains / One thing only makes him afraid: / Dipping into cold water!
And this is his servant Mushon / Full of life, with a sharp tongue / He is fond of songs and poetry / He likes drinking beer / When he is full of wine / He plays the guitar!
The year is 1502. In the city of
The father: “Chaim my son, I would
like you to take up the task an important and dangerous mission: to go to
Chaim: “Yes, my father lord. I’ll readily fulfill his request!*”
Note: It is a custom to turn to the father of the family in third person as a sign of honor.
The father: “I wish you, my son, ‘Caminos de leche i miel”*
Note: Ways of milk and honey – a Jewish-Spanish idiom.
The Captain: “If I had room, I would willingly take you on my ship”
Mushon: “If my mother-in-law turns up to be my mother, another rooster will sing to us!* I’ll tell my lord, Don Abulafia that there is no place.”
Note: A Jewish-Spanish proverb.
The Captain (thinking): “Don Abu Mafia?!?”
The Captain: “Did you say Don Abu Mafia?* I think that
nevertheless there will be place for you. I’m also from
Mushon: “Well, let’s hope for the best. De boca en boca – troca!**
Note I: Mafia – a Sicilian crime organization with a familial character, that begun in the fourteenth century.
Note II: A Jewish-Spanish proverb. “From one mouth to another – all mixed up”.
Chaim: If this was not so urgent, I would not risk a marine voyage.
Mushon: My left eyebrow itches. It is a sign of troubles.* There will be a storm!
Note: A Jewish-Spanish belief.
Mushon: How beautiful are the forces of nature: “The waves are growling like enormous wheels and clouds cover the face of the sea”*
Chaim: Son of Adam, why are you sleeping! We are going to drown! Try to find planks!
Note: A citation from a poem by the Jewish Spanish poet, Rabbi Yehuda HaLevi.
Mushon: I have a proven remedy!
Chaim: What’s this Djocha (fool) doing? Did he go out of his mind?
Chaim: Thank God, the storm is over. What did you throw into the sea?
Mushon: The remainder of the afikomen (A piece of Matza), a proven remedy for calming the sea.
Whale: (thinks) What a nasty food. This bread seems to me a little bit dry!
Mushon: The sea is so quiet. I’ll sit here and sing a romance and accompany myself with the sounds of my guitar.
Sailor I: We will attack the captain and his deputy. All the rest will be a child’s play.
Sailor II: Put an eye on Abu Mafia and his servant. I suspect that he has a weapon under his robe!
Mushon: (thinks) ?!?
Mushon: Ah – what is that on the horizon?
Mushon: What courage – to swim in the cold water – my lord should take an example from them!”
Sailor II: It is better to drown in the sea then fall in the hands of this mischief-maker!
Whale: At long last I received a juicy dish!
Ah! We arrived in peace to the shores of
Chaim: In two or three days we will reach
Horse: (thinks): What does he is ploting?
Donkey: (thinks): Why do they serve water only to the horse? I am also thirsty.
Chaim: Adio Santo!* What are you doing?!?
Horse: (thinks) I thought that in
Mushon: Cold water on the horse’s head – a proven good luck charm for the road!
Note: Good Gracious!
Donkey (thinks): Lucky me that I’m not a horse!
Horse: Hu-Ha Brrr… Hi-hi-hi! Chrr… Birrr… Burrr!*
Mushon: It seems that the horse is not familiar with the custom.
Note: Curses in the horse-language
Chaim: Here is the synagogue that my grand-grandfather built. Woe to the eye that sees such a thing!
Chaim: The entrance to the geniza (Hiding place for books in the synagogue) should be under the podium.
Chaim: Here is the treasure – my grandfather’s books of kabbala: ‘The Honor Treasure’ and ‘The Cedars’ Gate’. We succeeded!
Mushon: It would be interesting to check what is hidden behind this door – are there more books here?
Chaim: What is it, we are not alone!
Voices of converts: I admit that I did not came here to worship trees and stones but the God of Israel who rules all…
Chaim: Who are you?
The leader of the converts: We are onverses.* Your face seems to be known to me. It is resembling the face of Don Shmuel Abulafia.
Note: Conversos = Forced Jewish converts in
Chaim: I am his son. What are you doing here?
The leader of the converts: We are celebrating a Bar Mitcva of a boy who just came to the age of completing a Minyan.* Come and join us.
Mushon: Let me play my guitar for the guest of honor.
Note: complete Minian= to complete 10 adults Jews in the prayer
The commander of the soldiers: What are these strange noises?
A soldier: These are probably marennos!* Go ahead, let us catch them!!
Note: Marennos means pigs. This is the nickname that was given to converted Jews by the Christians.
Mushon: In the guitar that we bought, a string had already snap… (A fragment from a very known modern Israeli song).
Chaim: Enemies at the door! Save your souls, run away!!!
Guitar: Do-Re-Mi Boom!!*
Note: An old Jewish battle song.
Chaim: Don’t despair, Mushon. The important point is that our brothers succeeded to run away.
Mushon: Lucky me that I found spare strings to my guitar!
The commander of the soldiers: My lord, we catch them while they were trying to protect some marennos.
Inquisitor: Your majesty, give them to the hands of the Holy Interrogation.*
King: you will have them if you win them in the game of kings (chess).
Mushon: I feel itching in my right ear. It is a sign of success.
Note: Holy Interrogation=Inquisition.
Chaim: We did not lose our hope.*
Mushon: My lord has two more steps. It is clear that he should intimidate with chess-mat on the king and the response of the inquisitor would be a move to C-5, but what next?
Inquisitor: (thinks): The king is in my hand!
King: (thinks): Over my dead body…
Note: A fragment from the National Hymn of Israel by Naftali Herz Imber.
Mushon: As the Jewish poet, Eben Ezra said in his poem: “And the pawn would go forehead three steps in his track.”
King: (thinks) A brilliant move.*
Inquisitor: My blessing. You gained your life, but we will meet again in the future...
Note: In 1500 the laws of the game were different and the pawn could jump three steps in his first move.
A border guard: Stop, by the King’s command! What is your baggage?
Chaim: Books that were confiscated from the merannos in order to burn them on fire!
Chaim: Thank God, it ended well. Soon we will arrive at the border and there all will be arranged.
Leader of the converts: Blessed be He who shared His Wisdom with flesh and blood! (A traditional blessing to a wise man)
Chaim: I believe that from here you can
manage without our help. We are going back to
Leader of the converts: Thank you, our brothers. We will mention you in our prayers.
Chaim: A storm is drawing near. We must find a shelter to keep the books from being soaked in water.
Mushon: I’ll take the opportunity to have a look in this Cabala book…
Chaim: Mushon, Mushon, the flood is rising! In God we trust! We are going to drown!
Mushon: A preyer
of Moses, prophet of God. Grace, Justice and Glory (names of spheres of the
Cabala), be our guard.
Note: An old Cabalistic swearing-on for sea splitting.
Chaim: Fools luck! Djocha threw dices to left and found them on right!*
Note: A Jewish-Spanish proverb (Djocha is the popular fool in Jewish-Spanish folklore).
Chaim: My lord, my father, I fulfilled safely the mission that he imposed on me. Soon our brothers, whom I saved from the inquisition, will arrive here.
The father: God will bless you, my son, and impart His goodness on you. God will guard your going and coming and give you peace!
Chaim: Thank God, I succeeded to complete
the task without being wet even one time. I’ll smoke a little bit from this
cigar that I brought from
Mushon: (thinks) ???
Mushon: Help!!! My lord is burning!!