Page:Auerbach-Spinozanovel.djvu/428

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406
SPINOZA.

synagogue, and will not try the Truth on its just grounds, I will speak my thoughts to the whole world, where no ban reaches. I have only come to your tribunal to show you that I oppose no association that thinks it possesses the truth in its creed; but freedom of thought has its own inviolable domains. If you, as you have here accepted me, now reject me—a new day will break—"

"False prophet, be silent!" thundered Rabbi Aboab. "I ask for the second time, I ask for the third time, will you recant?"

The stillness of the grave reigned for a second in the hall; then Spinoza looked up, and answered in a firm voice:

"I cannot, but neither can you do otherwise; I curse you not."

Rabbi Isaak Aboab tore his mantle, and Rabbi Saul Morteira took the Schofar that lay covered before him, and blew it three times, so that it echoed on all sides of the dome; the sacred ark was opened, all present arose, and Rabbi Isaak Aboab read from a parchment:

In the Name of the Lord of lords
Art thou, Baruch, son of Benjamin,
Laid under the greater ban.
Be thou under the ban of both laws.
Heavenly and earthly:
Be banned by the saints above.
Be banned by the Seraphim,
Be banned by the Ophanim.