each stop, each phrase and each transposition therein had its own deep signification. As proof that a secret meaning lay hidden in the words of the Bible it was alleged that the Holy Scriptures related so many unimportant facts, as that (Genesis xix. 11) "Rachel and Jacob kissed," the detailed enumeration (Numbers viii.) of the contributions of the twelve princes of the tribes to the building of the tabernacle, and many similar passages. All this must have a hidden signification.
They were deeply engrossed in these discussions when the echoing chimes of the Zuyderkerk informed them of the midnight hour. The Rabbi rose, took off his shoes, strewed ashes on his head, and sat down on the ground beside the door-post, where a parchment on which was the Shema lay in a niche; he covered his face, and amid tears repeated the alphabetical confession of sins, then in a mournful voice sang Psalm cxxxvii.: "By the rivers of Babylon there we sat down, yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion. If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning—let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth, if I prefer not Jerusalem above my chief joy."
He repeated the Lamentations of Jeremiah in the same position; then arose with the words, "Shake thyself from the dust; arise, and sit down, O Jerusalem: loose thyself from the bands of thy neck, O captive daughter of Zion" (Isaiah lii. 2).