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💬 מְגִלַּת סָארַגוֹסָא | Megillat Saragossa, a Purim Sheni legend for the 17th of Shevat translated and cantillated by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer

Combining the candy and costumes of Halloween, the plays and parades of Mardi Gras, the mischief and masquerades of April Fools’ Day, and more booze than you can wobble your fist at, Purim is surely one-of-a-kind. Or is it? In fact, there is an ancient custom around the Jewish world to establish and celebrate “Second Purims” in honor of community redemptions or family celebrations. These would often incorporate feasting, celebration, and even the reading of a new Megillah specifically written in honor of the specific miracle! And one of the greatest Second Purim is the Purim of Saragossa, celebrated on the 17th of Shevat every year by many communities of Spanish or Sicilian descent.

Behold, a full text of the Megillah of Saragossa, telling a story of a great miracle that happened… somewhere. (Some claim Syracuse in Sicily, others Zaragosa in Spain.) In any case, it’s a fascinating story of survival in exile – not to mention an excuse to party and eat Sephardi snack food! During the Purim of Saragossa, communities traditionally read this megillah using the melodies of Esther cantillation. To that end, this text has been fully vocalized and cantillated. The Megillah of Saragossa is found in many different text types, so the editor selected from them out of personal preference – if your own custom differs, then feel free to edit the text to suit your own needs.

Also, for the first time ever (as far as the editor is aware), this text features a full English translation directly from the Hebrew text of the Megillah of Saragossa, as well as footnotes marking extensive quotes from the Biblical text itself. Though you can find abbreviations and summarized versions online, this is (to the editor’s knowledge) the most accurate and complete translation so far.

This is traditionally read in a similar method to a regular megillah – in fact, you can find beautiful STaM editions on kosher parchment! In any case, it would generally be after the complete Kaddish in the evening, or the Torah service and/or Amidah in the morning. It’s meant to mostly sound like Esther. For the sadder or darker passages, feel free to use Eikha trop – or even create your own detours! It’s Purim – no need to be serious about it!

Note: “The CAUSE” is used to translate the Divine Name YHVH, based on the philosophical idea of God as the Prime Mover and on the interpretation of the Name as a causative form of the copula – “causes to be.”


Source (Hebrew)Translation (English)
וַיהִ֤י בִּימֵי֙ הַמֶּ֣לֶךְ סָארַג֔וֹסָנוֹס מֶ֛לֶךְ אַ֥דִּיר וְחָזָ֖ק הָיָ֑ה וְהָי֣וּ ׀ תַ֗חַת מֶמְשָׁלְת֗וֹ כַּחֲמֵ֥שֶׁת אֲלְפֵי־אִ֖ישׁ מִבְּנֵ֥י יִשְׂרָאֵֽל׃ כֻּלָּם֙ חֲכָמִ֣ים וּנְבוֹנִ֔ים רָאשֵׁ֛י אַלְפֵ֥י יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל הֵ֑מָּה לְבַד֙ מִ֣בַּחוּרִ֔ים וְנַעֲרֵיהֶ֥ם וּבְנֵיהֶ֖ם וְטַפָּֽם׃ וּשְׁתֵּ֤ים עֶשְׂרֵה֙ קְהִלּ֣וֹת קְדוֹשׁ֔וֹת בְּנוּי֖וֹת מֵאַבְנֵ֥י גָּזִ֑ית וְעַ֤מּוּדֵי שֵׁישׁ֙ כְּל֣וּלוֹת יֹפִ֔י מְמֻלָּאִ֖ים בַּתַּרְשִֽׁישׁ׃ וּבָ֕הּ מִנְהַ֥ג הַיְּהוּדִ֖ים הָאֵ֑לֶּה בַּעֲב֨וּר הַמֶּ֜לֶךְ דֶּ֣רֶךְ ׀ שׁ֣וּק הַיְּהוּדִ֗ים הָ֨יוּ מוֹצִאִ֜ים שְׁלֹשָׁ֧ה סְפָרִ֛ים מִכׇּל־קְהִלָּ֥ה וּקְהִלָּ֖ה שְׁלוֹשִׁ֥ים וְשֵׁ֖שׁ סְפָרִֽים׃ מְעוּטָּפִ֣ים ׀ בְּבִגְדֵ֣י רִקְמָ֗ה וּבְתִיקֵ֨י כֶ֤סֶף וְזָהָב֙ וְרִמּוֹנִ֔ים וְתַפּוּחֵ֥י כֶ֖סֶף וְזָהָ֑ב בְּמַשְׂכִּיּ֥וֹת כֶּ֖סֶף בְּרָאשֵׁ֥י הַסְּפָרִֽים׃ וּמְבָרְכִ֣ים לַמֶּ֔לֶךְ בְּק֥וֹל גָּד֖וֹל וְרָ֑ם וְכׇל־הָעָ֛ם עוֹנִ֥ים אַחֲרֵיהֶ֖ם אָמֵֽן׃ [ס]
And it was in the days of King Saragossanos, a mighty and powerful king was he, and under his rule were around five thousand of the children of Israel. All were wise and intelligent, heads of the thousands of Israel were they, as well as young men and their lads and their children and their babies. And twelve holy congregations, built from hewn stone and marble pillars, all of them beautiful, studded with beryl. And there was a custom and law of the Jews there that when the king passed on the street of the Jewish market, they would go out with three scrolls from each and every congregation, thirty-six scrolls. Decorated in wrappings of embroidery and in cases of silver and gold, and pomegranates and apples of gold silver and gold, with showpieces of silver upon the tops of the scrolls. And they would bless the king in a great and loud voice and all the people would answer after them “Amen.”
וַיהִ֨י הַיּ֜וֹם נִקְהֲל֕וּ שְׁנֵ֥ים עֶשְׂרֵ֖ה חַכְמֵ֣י הַקְּהִלּ֑וֹת וְאַרְבָּעָ֧ה וְעֶשְׂרִ֛ים דַּייָּנֵיהֶ֥ם בְּהֵחָבֵ֖א לֵאמֹֽר׃ לֹ֥א כֵן֙ אֲנַ֣חְנוּ עֹשִׂ֔ים לָצֵאת֙ עִם־תּוֹרַ֣ת אֱלֹהֵ֔ינוּ אֱלֹהִ֥ים חַיִּ֖ים וּמֶ֣לֶךְ עוֹלָ֑ם לִפְנֵ֥י עוֹבֵ֖ד עֲבוֹדָ֥ת אֱלִילִֽים׃ נוֹעֲד֣וּ ׀ נוֹסְד֣וּ יַחְדָּ֗ו לְהַכִּ֤ין שְׁלוֹשָׁה֙ תִּיקִ֣ין רֵקִ֔ים מִכׇּל־קְהִלָּ֖ה וּקְהִלָּ֑ה מְעֻטָּפִ֤ים בְּמִעְילָם֙ וְרִ֣מּוֹנֵיהֶ֔ם לָצֵא֥ת עִמָּהֵ֖ם לִפְנֵ֖י הַמֶּֽלֶךְ׃ יַ֣עַן ׀ כִּי־כֵּ֣ן מִנְהָגָ֗ם לִהְיוֹת֙ תּ֣וֹפֶשׂ הַתּוֹרָ֔ה חָכָ֧ם הַקָּהָ֛ל וּשְׁנֵ֥י דַּייָּנָ֖יו עִמּֽוֹ׃ וְאִישׁ֙ לֹ֣א יָדַ֔ע אֶת־הַדָּבָ֥ר הַזֶּ֑ה רַ֥ק חֲכָמָ֖יו וְדַיָּנָֽיו׃ וְכָ֖ךְ הָ֥יוּ עוֹשִׂ֑ים עַד־שְׁנַ֥ת עֲשָׂרָ֖ה לְמֶ֥לֶךְ סַארָגֽוֹסָנוֹס׃ [ס]
Then came a day where twelve sages of the congregations were assembled, and twenty-four of their judges in secret and said: “It is not proper that we do this, going with the Torah of our God, the Living God and Ruler of Existence,[1] ”the Living… Existence” from Jeremiah 10:10  before a worshipper of idol worship!” So they met up and established together to get three empty cases from each community,[2] Other girsot have “six empty cases.” The difference in the Hebrew depends on the omission of the letter ל, thus presenting ששה or שלשה. Thank you to Igal Ahitov for pointing out this variation.  bedecked in their wrapping and their pomegranates, and go out with them before the king. Since thus was their custom for the sage of the community to hold the Torah, and two judges with him. And no man knew this thing but the sages and judges. And thus they did it until the tenth year of King Saragossanos.
בַּיָּמִ֖ים הַהֵ֑ם נִשְׁתַּמֵּ֞ד אִ֨ישׁ רִ֤יב וּמָדוֹן֙ רָשָׁ֣ע וּבְלִיַּעַ֔ל חַיִּ֥ים שָׁ֖אמִי שְׁמֽוֹ׃ וַיהִ֛י הָאִ֥ישׁ נֶחֱמַ֖ד בְּבֵ֣ית הַמֶּ֑לֶךְ כִּ֨י הָיָ֤ה מְשָׁרֵת֙ בְּשַׁ֣עַר הַמֶּ֔לֶךְ לְפָנִ֥ים בְּיִשְׂרָאֵֽל׃ בְּעֵ֨ת הַהִ֜יא גָּדֵ֨ל הַמֶּ֤לֶךְ סַארָג֨וֹסָנוֹס֙ אֶת־חַיִּ֣ים שָׁ֔אמִי אֲשֶׁר־שָׂ֥ם אֶת־שְׁמ֖וֹ מַ֑רְקוֹשׂ וַיָּ֣שֶׂם אֶת־כִּסְא֗וֹ בֵּ֧ין הַשָּׂרִ֛ים אֲשֶׁ֥ר אִתּ֖וֹ בְּהֵיכַ֥ל הַמֶּֽלֶךְ׃ [ס]
In those days there was a destroying man of strife and contention, wicked and base, Ḥayyim Sami was his name. And this man was desired in the king’s house, for he was serving in the gate of the king, at the front in Israel. At that time, King Saragossanos promoted Ḥayyim Sami, to whom he gave the name Marcos, and placed his seat among the nobles who were with him in the royal palace.
וַיהִ֨י הַיּ֜וֹם וַיֵּ֣צֵא ׀ הַמֶּ֣לֶךְ סַארָג֗וֹסָנוֹס וְכׇל־הָעָם֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר אִתּ֔וֹ וְהַשָּׂרִ֤ים וְהַפְּחַתִים֙ כְּמִנְהָגָ֔ם לָלֶ֖כֶת בְּכׇל־אַוַּ֣ת נַפְשָׁ֑ם וַיַּעֲבֹ֨ר בְּת֤וֹךְ הָעִיר֙ וַיָּ֣קׇם מַ֔רְקוֹשׂ וְלַעֲבֹ֖ר בְּשׁ֥וּק הַיְּהוּדִֽים׃ וַיְמַהֲר֣וּ הַיְּהוּדִ֗ים וַיַּגִּיד֕וּ לְרָאשֵׁ֥י הַכְּנֵסִיּ֖וֹת לֵאמֹ֑ר הִנֵּ֥ה הַמֶּ֖לֶךְ עוֹבֵ֥ר בַּשּֽׁוּק׃ וַיָּקֻ֨מוּ חַכְמֵ֤י הַקְּהִלּוֹת֙ וְדַ֣ייָּנֵיהֶ֔ם וְכׇל־הָעָ֖ם אֲשֶׁ֣ר עִמָּהֶ֑ם וְיוֹצִיאוּ֙ אֶת־הַתִּיקִ֣ין רֵקִ֔ים כִּמִנְהָגָ֖ם מְעוּטְפָּלִים בִּמְעִ֥ילֵי רִקְמָֽה׃ וַיְבָרֲכ֥וּ אֶת־הַמֶּ֖לֶךְ בְּק֣וֹל רָ֑ם וַיַּעֲנ֤וּ כׇל־הָעָם֙ וַיֹּאמְר֣וּ ׀ אָמֵ֔ן וַיֵּ֥לֶךְ הַמֶּ֖לֶךְ לְדַרְכּ֥וֹ בְּשָׁלֽוֹם׃ [ס]
And then came a day when King Saragossanos went out and all the people who were with him and the nobles and the pashas, as per their custom, to go out to fulfill their desires, and they crossed the midst of the city, and Marcos arose to cross the Jewish market. And the Jews hurried and told the heads of the synagogues and their sages, saying: Hey, the king is crossing in the market! And the sages of the congregations and their judges went up, and all the people that were with them, and they went out with the empty cases as per their custom, bedecked in wrappings of embroidery. And they blessed the king in a loud voice and all the people answered together and said, “Amen,” and the king went on his way.
וַיהִ֗י לְעֵ֥ת עֶ֨רֶב֙ כְּשֶׁ֣בֶת הַמֶּ֔לֶךְ עַ֖ל כִּסֵּ֣א מַלְכ֑וּתוֹ בִּלְב֨וּשׁ מַלְכ֜וּת תְּכֵ֣לֶת ׀ וָח֗וּר וַעֲטֶ֤רֶת זָהָב֙ גְּדוֹלָ֔ה מְשׁוּבֶּ֥צֶת בְּאַבְנֵי־חֵ֖פֶץ בְּרֹאשֽׁוֹ׃ וַיֹּאמְר֥וּ שָׂרָ֖יו וְיוֹעֲצָ֣יו וַחֲכָמָ֑יו מָה־נִכְבָּ֣ד ׀ הַיּ֣וֹם הַזֶּ֗ה הַמֶּ֤לֶךְ סַארָג֨וֹסָנוֹס֙ מִכׇּל־הַמְּלָכִ֤ים אֲשֶֽׁר־בָּאָ֙רֶץ֙ הֵ֔מָּה בְּעֵינֵ֖י כׇּל־ הַיְּהוּדִֽים׃ בְּצֵאתָם֙ לִפְנֵ֣י הַמֶּ֔לֶךְ רָאשֵׁ֧י שִׁפְטֵיהֶ֛ם כׇּל־אִ֖ישׁ יִשְׂרָאֵ֑ל עִ֚ם סִפְרֵ֣י הַתּוֹרָ֔ה לְהִשְׁתַּחֲו֥וֹת לְפָנָ֖יו וּלְבָרְכֽוֹ׃ וַיַּ֣עַן ׀ מַ֣רְקוֹשׂ הָרָ֗שָׁע לִפְנֵ֥י הַמֶּ֖לֶךְ וְהָשָּׂרִ֑ים חָלִלָ֡ה לַיְּהוּדִ֤ים הָאוּמְלָלים֙ הָאֵ֔לֶּה בַּדָּבָ֖ר הַזֶּֽה׃ יִוָּדַ֣ע לַמֶּ֔לֶךְ כִּ֥י הַתִּיקִ֥ין רֵקִ֖ים הֵ֑ם וְאֵין֙ כׇּל־מְא֣וּמָה בְּתוֹכָ֔ם כִּ֥י בְּמִרְמָ֖ה הֵ֥ם עוֹשִֽׂים׃ וַ֠יהִי כִשְׁמֹ֨עַ הַמֶּ֤לֶךְ וְהַשָּׂרִים֙ וַחֲכָמָ֣יו וְיוֹעֲצָ֔יו אֶת־הַדָּבָ֖ר הַזֶּ֑ה חָרָה֙ לָהֶ֔ם וַיִּקְצֹ֤ף הַמֶּ֙לֶךְ֙ מְאֹ֔ד וַחֲמָת֖וֹ בָּעֲרָ֥ה בֽוֹ׃ [ס]
And it was that evening, as the king sat on his royal throne, in his royal garments, purple and white, and a great golden crown embedded with precious gems on his head. And his nobles, advisors and sages, said, “How honored is King Saragossanos this day over all those kings on earth in the eyes of the Jews! When they go out before the king, heads of chieftains, every Israelite, with the Torah scrolls, to bow before him and bless him!” And the evil Marcos answered and said before the king and the nobles, “Far be it from these pathetic Jews to do that! The king should know that the cases are empty, and there is nothing in them, since in deceit they do this!” And it was, when the king and the nobles and sages and advisors heard this matter, they were angry, and the king was very outraged and his anger burned within him.[3] ”and the king… within him” from Esther 1:12. 
וַיֹּ֣אמֶר הַמֶּ֗לֶךְ לַחֲכָמִ֛ים יֹדְעֵ֥י דָּ֖ת וָדִ֑ין וּפוֹסְקֵ֣י הַדִּינִֽין׃ כְּדָת֙ מָ֣ה לַעֲשׂ֔וֹת לַאֲנָשִׁ֥ים הַחַטָּאִ֖ים הָאֵ֑לֶּה בְּנַפְשׁוֹתָ֞ם אֲשֶׁ֨ר קָשְׁר֧וּ קֶ֛שֶׁר אַמִּ֥יץ וְחָזָ֖ק לְרַמּ֥וֹת אֶת־הַמֶּֽלֶךְ׃ וַיַּעֲנ֖וּ כֻּלָּ֑ם וַיֹּאמְר֛וּ מִשְׁפַּ֥ט מָ֖וֶת לַאֲנָשִׁ֥ים הָאֵֽלֶּה׃ אִ֥ם עַל־הַמֶּ֨לֶךְ֙ ט֔וֹב יִכָּתֵ֣ב לְאַבְּדָ֔ם וִיחַתֵ֖ם בְּטַבַּֽעַת כִּ֗י כְּתַ֨ב אֲשֶׁ֤ר נֶחְתַּם֙ בְּטַבַּ֣עַת הַמֶּ֔לֶךְ אֵ֖ין לְהָשִֽׁיב׃ וַֽיִּקְרְא֣וּ ׀ סֹפְרֵ֣י הַמֶּ֗לֶךְ בְּחֹ֨דֶשׁ אַחַ֤ת עֶשְׂרֵה֙ ה֚וּא חֹ֣דֶשׁ שְׁבָ֔ט שִׁשָּֽׁה־עָשָׂ֥ר י֖וֹם בּ֑וֹ וַֽיִּכְתְּב֥וּ עַל־ הַיְּהוּדִ֖ים כִּרְצוֹנָֽם׃ וַיְהִ֣י ׀ כַּאֲשֶׁ֣ר ׀ נֶחְתַּ֣ם הַכְּתָ֡ב וַ֠יֹּאמְרוּ בַּבֹּקֶ֣ר נֵצֵ֣א אֲלֵיהֶם֮ בְּפֶ֣תַע פִּתְאוֹם֒ לָלֶ֣כֶת וְלַעֲבֹ֗ר בַּשּׁ֣וּק הַ֠יְּהוּדִים וּבְצֵאתָ֨ם לִפְנֵ֤י הַמֶּ֨לֶךְ֙ בַּסְּפָרִ֔ים נִפְתְּחָ֖ה אֶת־הַתִּיקִ֑ין וְנִרְאֶ֛ה אִם־צָדְק֖וּ דִּבְרֵ֥י מַֽרְקוֹשׂ׃ אָ֗ז יָקוּמ֞וּ עֲלֵיהֶ֣ם ׀ חִ֣יל הַמֶּ֗לֶךְ כֻּלָּ֨ם אֲחֻ֤זֵי חֶ֨רֶב֙ מְלֻמְּדֵ֣י מִלְחָמָ֔ה אִ֥ישׁ חַרְבּ֖וֹ עַל־יְרֵכ֑וֹ וְיַהְרְג֨וּ כֻּלָּ֤ם כְּאֶחָד֙ תּ֣וֹךְ קְהִלָּתָ֔ם וְאֶת־בֵּ֥ית תְּפִלָּתָ֖ם יִשְׂרְפ֥וּ בָּאֵֽשׁ׃ וְאֶת־טַפָּ֤ם וְאֶת־נְשֵׁיהֶם֙ נִקַּ֣ח לָ֔נוּ לַעֲבָדִ֖ים וְלִשְׁפָח֑וֹת רַ֛ק כׇּל־שְׁלָלָ֥ם יָב֖וֹא אֶל־ גִּנְזֵ֥י הַמֶּֽלֶךְ׃ וַיִּיטַב֙ הַדָּבָ֔ר בְּעֵינֵ֥י הַמֶּ֖לֶךְ וְהַשָּׂרִ֑ים לַעֲשׂ֣וֹת כֵ֔ן וַיִּכְתֹּ֥ב וַיַּחְתֹּ֖ם בְּטַבַּעַ֥ת הַמֶּֽלֶךְ׃ [פ]
And the king said to the sages, knowers of religion and law [4] from Esther 1:13 , and rulers on the laws. To determine what to do [5] from Esther 1:15  for these criminals, these souls who tied a strong and sturdy bond upon the king to deceive him. And they all answered and said before the king, “The death penalty for these people! If it is good in the king’s eyes, may it be written that they be destroyed, and may it be sealed with a signet!” For a writ which was sealed with the royal signet cannot be overturned. And the king’s scribes went out in the eleventh month, which is the month of Shvat, on the sixteenth day, to write against the Jews as desired. And when the writ was sealed, they said, “In the morning we will go out to them all of a sudden, to go and pass through the Jewish market, and as they go out before the king with the books, we will open the cases and see if the words of Marcos are accurate! Then the king’s forces will come up against them, all gripping the sword, knowing battle, each with sword on thigh[6] ”all gripping… on thigh” from Song of Songs 3:8.  – and they will kill them all as one in the midst of their communities, and their houses of prayer will be burned in fire! And their babies and women we will take as slaves and maids, except all the booty will go to the royal treasury!” And the matter was good in the eyes of the king and the nobles, to do so, and he wrote and signed with the royal signet.
בַּלַּ֣יְלָה הַה֔וּא נׇדְדָ֖ה שְׁנַת־אֶפְרַ֣יִם בָּר֑וּךְ שַׁמָּ֧שׁ הַקָּהָ֛ל אֲשֶׁ֥ר הָיָ֖ה בָּעִ֥יר סַארָגֽוֹסָנוֹס׃ וְהָיָ֣ה ׀ הָאִ֣ישׁ הָה֗וּא אִ֚ישׁ תָּ֣ם וְיָשָׁ֔ר יְרֵ֥א אֶת־יְהֹוָ֖ה וְסָ֣ר מֵרָ֑ע וְעוֹבֵ֧ד אֶת־יְהוָ֛ה בְּלֵ֥ב תָּמִ֖ים וּבְשִׁמְחָֽה׃ וַיַּ֗רְא וְאֵ֣ין אִ֠ישׁ וְהִנֵּ֨ה אִ֤ישׁ נִכְבָּד֙ בַּ֣עַל שֵׂעָ֔ר אֵז֥וֹר ע֖וֹר בְּמׇתְנָ֑יו אִ֥ישׁ פָּקִ֖יד עַל־כׇּל־בְּשׂוֹר֥וֹת טוֹבֽוֹת׃ וּמַרְאֵ֤הוּ כְּמַרְאֵה֙ אִ֣ישׁ הָאֱלֹהִ֔ים נוֹרָ֖א מְא֑וֹד אֵלִיָּ֥הוּ הַנָּבִ֖יא שְׁמֽוֹ׃ וַיָּ֤קִיצֵהוּ֙ מִשֵׁ֣נָת֔וֹ וַיֹּ֖אמֶר ל֑וֹ מַ֤ה לְּךָ֙ נִרְדָּ֔ם ק֣וּם מְהֵרָ֔ה ח֖וּשָׁה אַל־תַּעֲמֹֽד׃ לֵ֖ךְ לַקָּהָ֑ל וּמַלֵּ֨א אֶת־הַתִּיקִ֤ין הָרֵקִים֙ בְּסִפְרֵ֣י תּוֹרָ֔ה וּבְאוּשְׁכַּ֥ב עַל־מִשְׁכָּבְךָ֖ בְּשָׁלֽוֹם׃ הִשָּׁ֣מֶר לְךָ֩ וּ֨שְׁמֹ֤ר אֶת־נַפְשְׁךָ֙ מְאֹ֔ד פֶּן־תַּגִּ֖יד לְזוּלָתֶ֑ךָ כִּי֩ אִ֨ם הַגֵּ֤יד תַּגִּיד֙ דַ֚ע כִּי־מ֣וֹת תּמ֔וּת וְדָּמְךָ֥ בְּרֹאשְׁךָ֖׃ וַיָּ֣קׇם אֶפְרַ֗יִם וְהִנֵּ֨ה אֵימָ֤ה גְדוֹלָה֙ נוֹפֶ֣לֶת עָלָ֔יו וַיַּ֛עַשׂ כַּאֲשֶׁ֥ר צִוָּ֖הוּ הַמְּבַשֵּׂ֑ר וּבָא֙ וְשָׁכַ֣ב עַל־מַטֵּ֔הוּ וְעָרְבָ֖ה שֵׁנָתֽוֹ׃ וַיְהִ֣י וּכְכׇל־הַחִזָּיוֹן֮ הַזֶּה֒ אֲשֶׁ֤ר רָאָה֙ אֶפְרַ֔יִם כֵּ֨ן רָא֜וּ כׇּל־הַשַּׁמָּשִׁ֗ים שֶׁ֥ל שְׁתֵּ֨ים עֶשְׂרֵ֧ה קּהִלּ֛וֹת בַּלַּ֥יְלָה הַה֖וּא וּבָעֵ֣ת הַהִ֑יא עָשׂוּ֙ וְלֹא־הִגִּ֣ידוּ וּלְזוּלָתָ֔ם כַּאֲשֶׁ֥ר צִוּוּ֖ם מֵהָאִ֥ישׁ הַמְּבַשֵּֽׂר׃ וְכׇל־אֶחַד֩ מֵהֶ֨ם חָשָׁ֜ב שֶֽׁה֣וּא ׀ לְבַדּ֣וֹ רָאָ֗ה הַמַּרְאֶ֤ה וְהַחִזָּיוֹן֙ הַה֔וּא וַיִּפָּלֵ֥א הַדָּבָ֖ר בְּעֵינָֽיו׃
That night, sleep fled from[7] ”That night… from” from Esther 6:1.  Ephraim Baruch, the sexton of the congregation which was in the city of Saragossanos. And that man was pure and upright and CAUSE-fearing, fleeing from evil [8] from Job 1:1  and doing the work of the CAUSE with a whole heart and joy. And he saw there was no man [9] from Exodus 2:12 , but hey, an honored man, a great hairy man with a leather belt around his loins,[10] ”a great… loins” from II Kings 1:8.  the clerk of all good news. And his appearance was like that of a man of God, very awesome[11] ”and his appearance… very awesome” from Judges 13:6.  – Elijah the Prophet his name! And he woke him up from his sleep and said to him, “What are you doing, sleeping? Get up, quickly, don’t just stand there! Go to the congregation and fill the empty cases with Torah scrolls, and return to sleep in your bed in peace. Guard yourself and guard your life carefully, lest[12] ”But guard… for if” from Deuteronomy 4:9.  you tell anyone else, for if you dare tell this vision to another, you will die, yes, and your blood is on your head!” And Ephraim woke up and, behold, great dread had fallen upon him, so he gathered himself and did what the messenger commanded him, and went and returned and lay on his bed and his sleep was untroubled. And it was that just as this whole vision that the man Ephraim saw, so too saw all the sextons of the twelve congregations on that night and at that time, and they told nobody; just as the messenger man commanded them they did. And each of them thought he was alone in seeing that sight and vision, and it was amazing in their eyes.
וַיְהִ֣י בַּ֠בֹּקֶר בְּ֨שִׁבְעָ֧ה עָשָׂ֛ר י֖וֹם לְחֹ֥דֶשׁ שְׁבָ֑ט שְׁנַ֛ת שְׁלֹ֥שׁ עֶשְׂרֵ֖ה לְמֶ֥לֶךְ סַארָָגֽוֹסָנוֹס׃ בִּשְׁנַת֩ אֶ֨לֶף וּשְׁלֹ֤שׁ מֵאוֹת֙ וַחֲמִשִׁ֣ים וּשְׁתַּ֔יִם לְחׇרְבַּ֥ן בֵּית־קֹדְשֵׁ֖נוּ תּׄוּׄבְׄבָׄאׄ שֶֽׁה֥וּא בִּשְׁנַ֨ת חֲמֵ֧שֶׁת אֲלָפִ֛ים וּמֵאָ֥ה וּשְׁמוֹנִ֖ים לַיְּצִירָֽה׃ וַיָּ֖קׇם הַמֶּ֣לֶךְ סַארָגוֹ֑סָנוֹס ה֗וּא וְכׇל־שָׂרָ֧יו וּמַנְהִיגָ֛יו וְיוֹעֲצָ֥יו וַחֲכָמָ֖יו בַּ֥יּוֹם הַהֽוּא׃ וַיַּעֲבֹ֣ר פִּתְאֹ֔ם דֶּ֖רֶךְ שׁ֣וּק הַיְּהוּדִ֑ים וּמַ֣רְקוֹשׂ הָרָשָׁ֔ע הוֹלֵ֖ךְ לְיָמִ֥ין הַמֶּֽלֶךְ׃ וְכׇל־חִ֨יל הַמֶּ֜לֶךְ הוֹלְכִ֧ים אַחֲרָ֛יו מְזוּיָּנִ֛ים בְּכׇל־כְּלֵ֥י מִינֵ֖י מִלְחָמָ֑ה וְכִשְׁל֤וֹשׁ מֵאוֹת֙ נַעֲרֵ֣י הַמֶּ֔לֶךְ כֻּלָּם֙ אֲחֻ֣זֵי חֶ֔רֶב מְלֻמְּדֵ֖י מִלְחָמָ֑ה אִ֤ישׁ חַרְבּוֹ֙ עַל־ יְרֵכ֔וֹ לַעֲשׂ֥וֹת בַּיְּהוּדִ֖ים כִּרְצוֹנָֽם׃ וַיהִי֙ מִדֵּ֣י עוֹבְרָ֔ם בְּשׁ֖וּק שֶׁ֣ל הַיְּהוּדִ֑ים מִהֲר֧וּ וַיַּגִּ֛ידוּ לַיְּהוּדִ֥ים וְלַחֲכָמִ֖ים וּלְדַיָּנִ֥ים בְּחׇפְזָֽה׃ וַיִּקְח֖וּ אֶת־ הַתִּיקִ֑ין לְבָרֵ֥ךְ לַמֶּ֖לֶךְ כְּמִנְהָגָֽם׃ וַיֹּ֤אמֶר לָהֶם֙ הַמֶּ֔לֶךְ רְצוֹנִ֧י לִרְא֛וֹת אֶת־תּוֹרַ֥ת מֹשֶׁ֖ה אִ֣ישׁ הָאֱלֹהִ֑ים אֲשֶׁ֥ר אַתֶּ֛ם מְבָרְכִ֥ים אוֹתִ֖י בִּשְׁמֽוֹ׃ [ס]
And it was, in the morning on the seventeenth day of Shvat, the thirteenth year of King Saragossanos – that is 1352 years from the destruction of our Temple (may it be rebuilt and established speedily in our days, amen!), which was in the 5180th year of creation.[13] 1420 CE.  And King Saragossanos got up, he and all his nobles and leaders and advisors and sages on that day. And they passed as a surprise on the path of the Jewish market, and the wicked Marcos was walking to the right of the king. And all the force of the king walked after him, armed with all kinds of tools of warfare, and around three hundred of the king’s lads, all gripping the sword, knowing battle, each with sword on thigh,[14] from Song of Songs 3:8  to do to the Jews as they desired. And so it was, when they passed in the market of the Jews, they hurried and told the Jews and the sages and the judges in haste. And they took the cases to bless the king and bow to him as per their custom. And the king said to them, “I desire to see the Torah of Moses, the man of the God by whose name you bless me.”
וַיהִ֣י ׀ כִשְׁמֹ֣עַ הַדָּבָ֗ר הַחֲכָמִים֙ וְהַדַּ֣יָּנִ֔ים וְכׇל־הָעָ֖ם אֶת־דְּבַ֣ר הַמֶּ֑לֶךְ וַיֵּ֣צֵא לִבָּ֔ם וְנָמֵ֥ס הָיָ֖ה בִּלְבָבָֽם׃ וַיֶּחֶרְד֞וּ וַֽיֹּאמְר֗וּ מָ֚ה זֹ֔את עָשָׂ֥ה הָאֱלֹהִ֖ים לָ֑נוּ וְהֵם֙ לֹ֣א יָדְע֔וּ מָ֛ה עָשָׁ֥ה לָהֶ֖ם אֱלֹהֵ֥י אֲבוֹתָֽם׃ וַיְמַהֲר֣וּ ׀ שָׂרֵ֣י הַמֶּ֗לֶךְ וַיִּפְתְּח֛וּ וַיִּמְצְא֥וּ מְלֵ֖אִים עִם־תּוֹרָ֣ת מֹשֶׁ֑ה וְהָיָ֥ה כָּת֖וּב בְּרֹ֥אשׁ הָעַמּֽוּד׃ וְאַף־גַּם־זֹ֠את בִּֽהְיוֹתָ֞ם בְּאֶ֣רֶץ אֹֽיְבֵיהֶ֗ם לֹֽא־מְאַסְתִּ֤ים וְלֹֽא־גְעַלְתִּים֙ לְכַלֹּתָ֔ם לְהָפֵ֥ר בְּרִיתִ֖י אִתָּ֑ם כִּ֛י אֲנִ֥י יְהֹוָ֖ה אֱלֹהֵיהֶֽם׃ וַיִּקְרְא֥וּ אוֹת֖וֹ לַמֶּֽלֶךְ׃ וַיִּקְחוּ֙ תִּ֣יק אָחֵ֔ר וַֽיִּפְתְּח֕וּ וַֽיִּמְצְא֥וּ גָם־אֶת־זֶ֖ה מָלֵ֣א תּוֹרָ֑ה וְכֵ֥ן בַּשְּׁלִישִׁ֖י וְכֵ֣ן בְּכֻלָּֽם׃
And when the matter was heard, the sages and judges and all the people heard the word of the king, their heart left, and became liquefied. And they fretted, one man to another, and said, “What is this that God has done to us?” For they did not know what the God of their ancestors[15] another girsah adds, שׁוֹמֵ֣ר יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל אֲשֶׁר־לֹ֥א יָנ֖וּם וְלֹ֥א יִישָֽׁן (“the guardian of Israel who neither slumbers nor sleeps”), from Psalm 121:4.  did for them. And the nobles of the king hurried and opened and found full with the Torah of Moses, and it was written on the top of the column: “Yet even then, as they are in the land of their enemies, I will not reject them, and I will not spurn them to destroy them, to annul my covenant with them, for I, the CAUSE, am their God.”[16] ”Yet even then… their God” from Leviticus 26:44.  And they read it to the king. And they took another case and opened and found that one also was full with the Torah of God, and such was the third, and such were all of them.[17] another girsah has, וְלָרְבִיעִ֑י עַ֚ד אֲשֶׁ֣ר תַּ֔מּוּ שְׁלוֹשִׁ֥ים וְשִׁשָּׁ֖ה הַתִּיקִֽין (“and such was the fourth, until they finished all thirty-six cases”). 
וַיהִ֣י כִּרְא֣וֹת הַמֶּ֘לֶךְ֮ וְכׇל־הַשָּׂרִים֒ כׇּל־הַתִּיקִ֤ין מְלֵאִים֙ עִם־תּוֹרַ֣ת הָאֱלֹהִ֔ים וַיְבָרְכֵ֣ם הַמֶּ֔לֶךְ וַיִּמְח֧וֹל לָהֶ֛ם הַמַּ֖ס שָׁלֹ֣שׁ שָׁנִ֑ים וַיִּפְט֨וֹר לָהֶ֧ם מִֽנְדָּבְל֛וֹ וַיֵּלְכ֥וּ גָם־הֵ֖ם מֵאִתָּ֥ם בְּשָׁלֽוֹם׃ וַיְצַ֣ו הַמֶּ֣לֶךְ וַיִּתְל֣וּ אֵ֣ת מַ֢רְקוֹשׂ הָ֠רָשָׁ֟ע֩ עַל־הַעֵ֞ץ עַ֨ל אֲשֶׁ֧ר זָמַ֛ם לַעֲשׂ֥וֹת רָעָ֖ה עִם הַיְּהוּדִֽים׃ וַיַּשְׁלִ֣כוּ וְאֶת־ נִבְלָתוֹ֮ בְּאַשְׁפָּה֒ עַ֨ד אֱכ֤וֹל הַכְּלָבִים֙ אֶת־ בְּשָׂר֔וֹ וְאֶת־עַצְמוֹתָ֖יו שָׂרְפ֣וּ בָּאֵ֑שׁ כֵּ֛ן יֹאבְד֥וּ כׇל־אוֹיְבֶ֖יךָ יְהֹוָֽה׃
And when the king and all the nobles saw the cases full of the Torah of God, the king blessed them, and issued a tax reprieve for three years, and redeemed them, and from customs and tolls they did not give,[18] ”tribute… give” from Ezra 4:13, in Aramaic.  and they went from with him to peace. And the king commanded and they hung Marcus the wicked on a tree, for plotting to do evil to the Jews. And they threw his corpse in a dungheap until the dogs ate his flesh, and all his bones they burned in a fire — thus may all Your enemies perish, CAUSE![19] from Judges 5:31. Another girsah completes the verse, וְאֹ֣הֲבָ֔יו כְּצֵ֥את הַשֶּׁ֖מֶשׁ בִּגְבֻרָתֽוֹ (“and those who love you go out as the sun in its might!”). 
עַל־כֵּ֡ן קִיְּמ֣וּ וְקִבְּל֣וּ הַיְּהוּדִ֡ים הַנִּמְצָאִ֣ים בְּעִ֣יר סַארָג֩וֹסָנוֹס֩ עֲלֵיהֶ֨ם ׀ וְעַל־זַרְעָ֜ם לִהְי֣וֹת עֹשִׂ֗ים אֵ֣ת י֨וֹם שְׁמֹנָ֤ה עָשָׂר֙ לָחֹ֣דֶשׁ שְׁבָ֔ט בְּכׇל־שָׁנָ֖ה וְשָׁנָ֑ה הֵ֧ם וּבְנֵיהֶ֛ם וּבְנֵ֥י בְנֵיהֶ֖ם עַ֥ד עוֹלָֽם׃ שָׂשׂ֥וֹן שִׂמְחָ֖ה וְי֣וֹם ט֑וֹב וּמִשְׁלֹ֤חַ מָנוֹת֙ אִ֣ישׁ לְרֵעֵ֔הוּ וּמַתָּנ֖וֹת לָאֶבְיֹנִֽים׃ לַיְּהוּדִ֕ים הָֽיְתָ֥ה אוֹרָ֖ה וְשִׂמְחָ֥ה וְשָׂשֹֽׂן׃ כִּ֚י מַ֣רְקוֹשׂ הָרָשָׁ֔ע חָשַׁ֥ב עַל־הַיְּהוּדִ֖ים לְאַבְּדָ֑ם וַיָּ֗שׇׁב מַחֲשַׁבְתּ֤וֹ הָרָעָה֙ עַל־רֹאשׁ֔וֹ וְתָל֥וּ אֹת֖וֹ עַל־הָעֵֽץ׃ כֵּ֕ן יֹאבְד֥וּ כׇל־ אוֹיְבֶ֖יךָ יְהֹוָ֑ה׃
Thus the Jews found in the city of Saragossanos ordained and accepted upon them and upon their seed to practice the eighteenth day of the month of Shvat, every year, them and their children and their children’s children forever and ever. Joy, gladness, and a good day, and giving gifts from one to another, and gifts to the poor. The Jews had light and gladness and joy and honor![20] ”The Jews had… honor” from Esther 8:16.  For Marcos the wicked wanted the Jews to be destroyed, but he turned evil plans onto him, and they hung him on a tree. Thus may all Your enemies perish, CAUSE![21] from Judges 5:31 
כִּ֥י מְרַחֲמָ֖ם נְהָגָֽם׃ ה֚וּא יְקַ֣יֵּם בָּ֔נוּ מִקְרָ֖א שֶׁכָּתֽוּב׃ אִם־יִהְיֶ֥ה נִֽדַּחֲךָ֖ בִּקְצֵ֣ה הַשָּׁמָ֑יִם מִשָּׁ֗ם יְקַבֶּצְךָ֙ יְהֹוָ֣ה אֱלֹהֶ֔יךָ וּמִשָּׁ֖ם יִקָּחֶֽךָ׃ וֶהֱבִיאֲךָ֞ יְהֹוָ֣ה אֱלֹהֶ֗יךָ אֶל־הָאָ֛רֶץ אֲשֶׁר־יָרְשׁ֥וּ אֲבֹתֶ֖יךָ ׀ וְנֶאֱמַֽר׃ כִּֽי־פָדָ֥ה יְהֹוָ֖ה אֶֽת־יַעֲקֹ֑ב וּגְאָל֕וֹ ׀ וְנֶ֖אֱמַֽר׃ אָ֣ז תִּשְׂמַ֤ח בְּתוּלָה֙ בְּמָח֔וֹל וּבַחֻרִ֥ים וּזְקֵנִ֖ים יַחְדָּ֑ו וְהָפַכְתִּ֨י אֶבְלָ֤ם לְשָׂשׂוֹן֙ וְנִ֣חַמְתִּ֔ים וְשִׂמַּחְתִּ֖ים מִיגוֹנָֽם׃ וְנֶאֱמַ֗ר ׀ כׇּל־כְּלִ֞י יוּצַ֤ר עָלַ֙יִךְ֙ לֹ֣א יִצְלָ֔ח ׀ אָר֤וּר מַרְקוֹשׂ֙ בָּר֣וּךְ אֶפְרַ֔יִם אֲרוּרִים֙ כׇּל־הָרְשָׁעִ֔ים בְּרוּכִ֖ים כׇּל־יִשְׂרָאֵ֑ל וְגַ֥ם אֵלִיָּ֖הוּ זָכ֥וּר לַטּֽוֹב׃
Just as the One who loves them led them,[22] from Isaiah 49:10  may the One fulfill for us the scripture as written: “If your exiles are at the ends of the horizon, from there the CAUSE your God will gather you, will take you. And the CAUSE your God will bring you to the land your ancestors possessed…”[23] from Deuteronomy 30:4-5  and it is written: “For the CAUSE delivered Jacob and redeemed him…”[24] from Jeremiah 31:11  and it is written, “Thus the maidens will rejoice in dance, and the youths and elders together, and I will turn their mourning to joy, and comfort them and make them rejoice from their grief.”[25] from Jeremiah 31:13  And it is written: “Any tool formed against you shall not succeed…”[26] from Isaiah 54:17  Cursed is Marcos! Blessed is Ephraim! Cursed are all the wicked! Blessed are all Israel! And Elijah of blessed memory too!

The text from which Isaac Gantwerk Mayer produced this cantillated text was sourced from an unpointed edition of the megillah found on the website of Yeshivat Netivot Olam and from two images (1, 2) of the scroll found at the website of the Society for the Advancement of Sephardic Studies and Culture. The combination of these sources were edited for consistency and readability. In 2023, the text and translation were updated in accord with the critical text offered by Igal Ahitov. (Thank you!)

For more information on second Purims, read this article (Hebrew) at the National Library of Israel.



The first column of megillat Saragossa/Syracusa from an image of an edition of the scroll.

later columns of megillat Saragossa/Syracusa from an image of an edition of the scroll.

Megilat Saragossa (Collection of Igal Ahitov, Istanbul, Turkey)



1”the Living… Existence” from Jeremiah 10:10
2Other girsot have “six empty cases.” The difference in the Hebrew depends on the omission of the letter ל, thus presenting ששה or שלשה. Thank you to Igal Ahitov for pointing out this variation.
3”and the king… within him” from Esther 1:12.
4from Esther 1:13
5from Esther 1:15
6”all gripping… on thigh” from Song of Songs 3:8.
7”That night… from” from Esther 6:1.
8from Job 1:1
9from Exodus 2:12
10”a great… loins” from II Kings 1:8.
11”and his appearance… very awesome” from Judges 13:6.
12”But guard… for if” from Deuteronomy 4:9.
131420 CE.
14from Song of Songs 3:8
15another girsah adds, שׁוֹמֵ֣ר יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל אֲשֶׁר־לֹ֥א יָנ֖וּם וְלֹ֥א יִישָֽׁן (“the guardian of Israel who neither slumbers nor sleeps”), from Psalm 121:4.
16”Yet even then… their God” from Leviticus 26:44.
17 another girsah has, וְלָרְבִיעִ֑י עַ֚ד אֲשֶׁ֣ר תַּ֔מּוּ שְׁלוֹשִׁ֥ים וְשִׁשָּׁ֖ה הַתִּיקִֽין (“and such was the fourth, until they finished all thirty-six cases”).
18”tribute… give” from Ezra 4:13, in Aramaic.
19from Judges 5:31. Another girsah completes the verse, וְאֹ֣הֲבָ֔יו כְּצֵ֥את הַשֶּׁ֖מֶשׁ בִּגְבֻרָתֽוֹ (“and those who love you go out as the sun in its might!”).
20”The Jews had… honor” from Esther 8:16.
21from Judges 5:31
22from Isaiah 49:10
23from Deuteronomy 30:4-5
24from Jeremiah 31:11
25from Jeremiah 31:13
26from Isaiah 54:17



4 comments to 💬 מְגִלַּת סָארַגוֹסָא | Megillat Saragossa, a Purim Sheni legend for the 17th of Shevat translated and cantillated by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer

  • Avatar photo Michael Assayag

    Hi there,

    Thanks a lot for your work, very impressive. I have two questions though:
    – first seems there is a mistake in the version of meguilah displayed, when mention is made about נוֹסְד֣וּ יַחְדָּ֗ו לִזְכּ֤וֹת שִׁשָּׁה֙ תִּיקִ֣ין רֵיקִ֔ין . This does not make sense all the more on other versions we found logically shelosha tikin.
    – second what are the rules you relied on for guessing the right taamim ? I mean looks very likeable to be the original one and it’s impressive but I’d like to know if there are some tradionnal/grammatical/other rules that enable to retrieve the initial cantilations.

    Thanks a lot , Hazak ouBarouk !

  • […] out the scheming Marcus had lied, he hung him instead of the Jews. To this day there is a special Megillat Saragossa (see picture) read by Jews who descend from those […]

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