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Customer Review

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The miracle of giving, March 10, 2002
This review is from: Moishe's Miracle: A Hanukkah Story (Hardcover)
In the poor village of Wishniak lived a milkman named Moishe and his wife Baila. He owned only two cows, and earned a meager living but was nevertheless always willing to help others. His wife, on the other hand, had the sharpest tongue in Wishniak.

In early winter one year, when "the wind prowled the icy lanes of the village like a starving jackal," many villagers hungered--including the widow Malka and her ailing son Shmuel, Heshy Fenster and his 13 children and the housebound Bubby (grandmother) Rifka and her cat. The kind and ever-generous Moishe left "an extra quart of milk here, a pint of thick cream there."

The night before Hanukkah, Baila found her money box empty, and blamed her inability to buy eggs, flour and oil to make latkes on Moishe's "foolish generosity." That night, to escape her harangue, he slept in the barn.

Imagine his surprise when his two cows awoke him and told of a stranger who arrived and departed while Moishe slept, leaving behind him tales of magic and adventure and a special gift buried in the hay --- a black frying pan.

When he got home, he told Baila about the night and the gift, which was endowed with a magical property. Of course, she did not believe him, but when Moishe placed the frying pan on the fire, something wonderful happened. (It's a secret.)

The next day, unhappy with the turn of events, Baila hid the Hanukkah candles under her bed, sent Moishe to borrow some more and tried to reproduce the magic feat that Moishe had managed. Of course, since Baila's nature was altogether unkind, the magic she brought on herself was unwelcome indeed. (But that's secret, too.)

Nowadays, visitors to Wishniak come to see the frying pan, which the Rabbi displays under glass. They hope to see some of its magic once again, but precisely what that was and whether it ever again occurred is hidden between the covers of this magnificent book.

The last two pages of the volume share the story of Hanukkah and provide a glossary of eight Yiddish and Hebrew words included in the tale.

---Alyssa A. Lappen
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