Page:Auerbach-Spinozanovel.djvu/69

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47
THE SYNAGOGUE.

into the dim dungeon, but gaze on the light that streams on us from all quarters."

The author of the book on the "Salvation of Israel" continued in spirited language, though often in ambiguous and superfine phraseology, his address on the necessity that the Jews should join in the universal striving towards the higher development of the age. By the "Light of the Lord" he understood the classics not less than the teachings of Moses. (He railed against the Polish Jews, whose obscure customs and debased position he ascribed principally to their want of solid learning; at last he rejoiced his hearers with an "Amen."

A roll of the law was then taken from the ark amid songs of praise. When it was handed to Baruch, he took the edge of the cloth of gold in which it was wrapped, and pressed it fervently to his lips.

The Thora was unrolled on the altar, and at each extract that was read out one of the three preachers was called upon to say the blessing thereon.

At the fourth extract the reader raised his voice and cried: "Rise, our teacher and master, Rabbi Baruch Ben Benjamin!" Baruch Spinoza, who was called to the Thora by this title of honor, was fiery red; he left his seat and repaired to the altar, where he read the blessing in a trembling voice. Every one in the synagogue wondered at so un-