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מְגִלַּת שַׂאֲרָגוֹשָׂה | 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!



Source (Hebrew) Translation (English)

וַיהִ֤י בִּימֵי֙ הַמֶּ֣לֶךְ שַׂאֲרָג֔וֹשֲׂנוֹשׂ מֶ֛לֶךְ אַ֥דִּיר וְחָזָ֖ק הָיָ֑ה וְהָיָ֣ה מַלְכוּת֗וֹ כַּחֲמֵ֧שֶׁת אֲלָפִ֛ים אִ֖ישׁ מִבְּנֵ֥י יִשְׂרָאֵֽל׃ כֻּלָּם֙ חֲכָמִ֣ים וּנְבוֹנִ֔ים רָאשֵׁ֛י אַלְפֵ֥י יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל הֵ֑מָּה לְבַד֙ מִ֣בַּחוּרִ֔ים וְנַעֲרֵיהֶ֥ם וּבְנֵיהֶ֖ם וְטַפָּֽם׃ וּשְׁתֵּ֤ים עֶשְׂרֵה֙ קְהִלּ֣וֹת קְדוֹשׁ֔וֹת בְּנִיָּ֖ם מֵאַבְנֵ֥י גָּזִ֑ית וְעַ֤מּוּדֵי שֵׁשׁ֙ כְּלִ֣ילַת יֹפִ֔י מְמֻלָּאִ֖ים בַּתַּרְשִֽׁישׁ׃ וּבָ֕הּ מִנְהַ֥ג מִשְׁפַּ֖ט הַיְּהוּדִ֣ים הָאֵ֑לֶּה בַּעֲב֨וּר הַמֶּ֜לֶךְ דֶּ֣רֶךְ ׀ שׁ֣וּק הַיְּהוּדִ֗ים הָ֨יוּ מוֹצִיאִ֜ים שְׁלוֹשָׁ֥ה סִפְרֵ֨י תּוֹרָ֧ה מִכׇּל־קְהִלָּ֛ה שְׁלוֹשִׁ֥ים וְשֵׁ֖שׁ סְפָרִֽים׃ מְעֻטָּפִ֣ים ׀ בְּבִגְדֵ֣י רִקְמָ֗ה וּבְתִיקֵ֨י כֶ֤סֶף וְזָהָב֙ וְרִמּוֹנִ֔ים וְתַפּוּחֵ֖י זָהָ֣ב וְכָ֑סֶף בְּמַשְׂכִּיּ֥וֹת כֶּ֖סֶף בְּרָאשֵׁ֥י הַסְּפָרִֽים׃ וּמְבָרְכִ֣ים לַמֶּ֔לֶךְ בְּק֥וֹל גָּד֖וֹל וְרָ֑ם וְכׇל־הָעָ֛ם עוֹנִ֥ים אַחֲרָ֖יו אָמֵֽן׃ וַיהִ֨י הַיּ֜וֹם נִקְהֲל֕וּ שְׁנֵ֥ים עָשָׂ֖ר חַכְמֵ֣י הַקְּהִלּ֑וֹת וְאַרְבָּעָ֧ה וְעֶשְׂרִ֛ים דַּיָּנֵיהֶ֖ם וַיֹּאמְר֥וּ לֵאמֹֽר׃ לֹ֥א כֵן֙ אֲנַ֣חְנוּ עֹשִׂ֔ים לָצֵאת֙ עִם־תּוֹרַ֣ת אֱלֹהֵ֔ינוּ אֱלֹהִ֥ים חַיִּ֖ים וּמֶ֣לֶךְ עוֹלָ֑ם לִפְנֵ֖י עוֹבֵ֥ד אֱלִילִֽים׃ נוֹעֲד֣וּ ׀ נוֹסְד֣וּ יַחְדָּ֗ו לִזְכּ֤וֹת שִׁשָּׁה֙ תִּיקִ֣ין רֵיקִ֔ין מִכׇּל־קְהִלָּ֖ה וּקְהִלָּ֑ה מְעֻלָּפִ֨ים בְּמַ֤עֲלֵיהֶם֙ וְרִ֣מּוֹנֵיהֶ֔ם וְלָצֵא֥ת לִפְנֵ֖י הַמֶּֽלֶךְ׃ יַ֚עַן כִּ֣י כָּ֔ךְ הָיָ֖ה מִנְהָג֑וֹ כִּ֥י יִהְיוּ֙ תּוֹפְסֵ֣י הַתּוֹרָ֔ה חָכָ֧ם הַקָּהָ֛ל וּשְׁנֵ֥י דַּיָּנָ֖יו עִמּֽוֹ׃ וְאִישׁ֙ לֹ֣א יָדַ֔ע אֶת־הַדָּבָ֥ר הַזֶּ֑ה לְבַ֥ד מֵחֲכָמָ֖יו וְדַיָּנָֽיו׃ וְכָ֖ךְ הָ֥יוּ עוֹשִׂ֑ים עַד־שְׁנַ֥ת עֲשָׂרָ֖ה לְמֶ֥לֶךְ שַׂאֲרָגֽוֹשֲׂנוֹשׂ׃
And it was in the days of King Saragosanus, a mighty and powerful king was he, and his kingdom had 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 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 Torah scrolls from each congregation, thirty-six scrolls. Decorated in wrappings of embroidery and in cases of silver and gold, and pomegranates and apples of gold and silver, 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 him “Amen.” Then came a day where twelve sages of the congregations were assembled, and twenty-four of their judges, and they spoke 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 idols!” So they met up and established together to get six empty cases from each community, bedecked in their wrappings and their pomegranates, and go out before the king. Since this was done, it was their custom, that there would be holders of the Torah – the sage of the community and two judges with him. And no man knew this thing except for the sages and judges. And thus they did it until the tenth year of King Saragosanus.

בַּיָּמִ֖ים הַהֵ֑ם נִשְׁתַּמֵּ֞ד אִ֨ישׁ רִ֤יב וּמָדוֹן֙ רַ֣ע וּבְלִיַּעַ֔ל חַיִּ֥ים שָׁ֖אמִי שְׁמֽוֹ׃ וַיהִי֙ הָאִ֣ישׁ הַה֔וּא נֶחֱמ֖ד בְּבֵ֣ית הַמֶּ֑לֶךְ כִּ֨י מְשָׁרֵ֤ת הָיָה֙ בְּשַׁ֣עַר הַמֶּ֔לֶךְ לְפָנִ֥ים בְּיִשְׂרָאֵֽל׃ בְּעֵ֨ת הַהִ֜יא גָּדֵ֨ל הַמֶּ֤לֶךְ שַׂאֲרָג֨וֹשֲׂנוֹשׂ֙ אֶת־חַיִּ֣ים שָׁ֔אמִי אֲשֶׁר־שָׂ֥ם שְׁמ֖וֹ מַ֑רְקוֹשׂ וַיָּ֣שֶׂם אֶת־כִּסְא֗וֹ בֵּ֧ין הַשָּׂרִ֛ים אֲשֶׁ֥ר אִתּ֖וֹ בְּהֵיכַ֥ל הַמֶּֽלֶךְ׃ וַיהִ֨י הַיּ֜וֹם וַיֵּ֣צֵא ׀ הַמֶּ֣לֶךְ שַׂאֲרָג֗וֹשֲׂנוֹשׂ וְכׇל־הָעָם֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר אִתּ֔וֹ וְהַשָּׂרִ֤ים וְהַפָּחוּת֙ כְּמִנְהָג֔וֹ לָלֶ֖כֶת בְּכׇל־אַוַּ֣ת נַפְשׁ֑וֹ וַיַּעֲבֹ֨ר בְּת֤וֹךְ הָעִיר֙ וַיִּקֶ֣ר מִקְרֵ֔הוּ וְלַעֲבֹ֖ר בְּשׁ֥וּק הַיְּהוּדִֽים׃ וַיְמַהֲר֣וּ הַיְּהוּדִ֗ים וַיַּגִּיד֕וּ לְרָאשֵׁ֥י הַכְּנֵסִיּ֖וֹת וּלְחַכְמֵיהֶ֣ם לֵאמֹ֑ר הִנֵּ֥ה הַמֶּ֖לֶךְ עוֹבֵ֥ר בַּשּֽׁוּק׃ וַיָּקֻ֨מוּ חַכְמֵ֤י הַקְּהִלּוֹת֙ וְדַ֣יָּנֵיהֶ֔ם וְכׇל־הָעָ֖ם אֲשֶׁ֣ר עִמָּהֶ֑ם וְיוֹצִיאוּ֙ אֶת־הַתִּיקִ֣ין הָרֵיקִ֔ין כִּמִנְהָגָ֖ם מִדֵּ֥י עָבָֽרוּ׃ וְכַאֲשֶׁ֨ר יָעֲצ֤וּ עֲטוּפִים֙ בִּמְעִ֣ילֵי רִקְמָ֔ה וַיְבָרֲכ֥וּ אֶת־הַמֶּ֖לֶךְ בְּק֣וֹל רָ֑ם וַיַּעֲנוּ֨ כׇל־הָעָ֤ם יַחְדָּיו֙ וַיֹּאמְר֣וּ ׀ אָמֵ֔ן וַיֵּ֥לֶךְ הַמֶּ֖לֶךְ לְדַרְכּֽוֹ׃
In those days there was a destroying man of strife and contention, evil and base, Ḥayyim Sami was his name. And this man was desired in the king’s house, for he was a servant in the gate of the king, at the front in Israel. At that time, King Saragosanus promoted Ḥayyim Sami, to whom he gave the name Marcos, and placed his seat between the nobles who were with him in the royal palace. And then came a day when King Saragosanus went out and all the people who were with him and the nobles and the governors, as per his custom, to go out to fulfill their desires, and they crossed the midst of the city and, as chance would have it, 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 before he passed. And as they had counseled, bedecked in wrappings of embroidery, and they blessed the king in a loud voice and 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 ׀ וָח֣וּר וְאַרְגָּמָ֗ן וַעֲטֶ֤רֶת זָהָב֙ גְּדוֹלָ֔ה מְשֻׁבֶּ֥צֶת אַבְנֵי־חֵ֖פֶץ בְּרֹאשֽׁוֹ׃ וַיֹּאמְר֥וּ שָׂרָ֖יו יוֹעֲצָ֣יו וַחֲכָמָ֑יו מָה־נִכְבָּ֣ד הַיּוֹם֩ הַמֶּ֨לֶךְ שַׂ֤אֲרָג֨וֹשֲׂנוֹשׂ֙ מִכׇּל־הַ֣מְּלָכִ֔ים אֲשֶׁ֣ר בָּאָ֔רֶץ בְּעֵינֵ֖י כׇּל־הַיְּהוּדִֽים׃ בְּצֵאתָם֙ לִפְנֵ֣י הַמֶּ֔לֶךְ רָאשֵׁיהֶ֧ם וְשִׁפְטֵיהֶ֛ם כׇּל־אִ֖ישׁ יִשְׂרָאֵ֑ל עִ֚ם סִפְרֵ֣י תּוֹרָתָ֔ם לְהִשְׁתַּחֲו֥וֹת לְפָנָ֖יו וּלְבָרְכֽוֹ׃ וַיַּ֣עַן ׀ מַ֣רְקוֹשׂ הָרָ֗שָׁע וַיֹּ֛אמֶר לִפְנֵ֥י הַמֶּ֖לֶךְ וְהָשָּׂרִ֑ים חָלִילָ֡ה לַיְּהוּדִ֤ים הָאֲמֵלָלים֙ הָאֵ֔לֶּה בַּדָּבָ֥ר הַזֶּ֖ה הָאֲמֵלָלִֽים׃ יִוָּדַ֣ע לַמֶּ֔לֶךְ כִּ֥י הַתִּיקִ֖ין רִיקִ֑ין וְאֵין֙ כׇּל־מְא֣וּמָה בְּתוֹכָ֔ם כִּ֥י בְּמִרְמָ֖ה הֵ֥ם עוֹשִֽׂים׃ וַ֠יהִי כִשְׁמֹ֨עַ הַמֶּ֤לֶךְ וְהַשָּׂרִים֙ וַחֲכָמָ֣יו וְיוֹעֲצָ֔יו אֶת־הַדָּבָ֖ר הַזֶּ֑ה הֵיטֵ֤ב חָרָה֙ לָהֶ֔ם וַיִּקְצֹ֤ף הַמֶּ֙לֶךְ֙ מְאֹ֔ד וַחֲמָת֖וֹ בָּעֲרָ֥ה בֽוֹ׃
And it was that evening, as the king sat on his royal throne, in his royal garments, purple and white and scarlet, and a great golden crown embedded with precious gems on his head. And his nobles, advisors and sages, said, “How honored is King Saragosanus today over all the kings on earth in the eyes of the Jews! When they go out before the king, heads and chieftains, every Israelite, with their 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, pathetic Jews to do this! 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, anger seemed appropriate to them, and the king was very outraged and his anger burned within him.[2] ”and the king… within him” from Esther 1:12. 

וַיֹּ֣אמֶר הַמֶּ֗לֶךְ לַחֲכָמִ֛ים יֹדְעֵ֥י דָּת־וָדִ֖ין וּפוֹסְקֵ֣י הַדִּינִ֑ים כִּ֛י כֵ֖ן דְּבַ֥ר הַמֶּֽלֶךְ׃ כְּדָת֙ מָ֣ה לַעֲשׂ֔וֹת לַאֲנָשִׁ֥ים הַחַטָּאִ֖ים הָאֵ֑לֶּה בְּנַפְשׁוֹתָ֞ם אֲשֶׁ֣ר ׀ קָשְׁר֣וּ עַל־הַמֶּ֗לֶךְ קֶ֛שֶׁר אַמִּ֥יץ וְחַזֵּ֖ק לְרַמּ֥וֹת בּֽוֹ׃ וַיַּעֲנוּ֙ חֲכָמָ֔יו וַיֹּאמְר֖וּ לִפְנֵ֣י הַמֶּ֑לֶךְ מִשְׁפַּ֥ט מָ֖וֶת לַאֲנָשִׁ֥ים הָאֵֽלֶּה׃ אִ֥ם עַל־הַמֶּ֨לֶךְ֙ ט֔וֹב יִכָּתֵ֥ב וְיַחְתּ֖וֹם בְּטַבַּעַ֣ת הַמֶּֽלֶךְ׃ וּבַבֹּקֶ֣ר נֵצֵ֣א אֲלֵיהֶם֮ בְּפֶ֣תַע פִּתְאוֹם֒ לָלֶ֣כֶת וְלַעֲבֹ֗ר בַּשּׁ֣וּק הַ֠יְּהוּדִים וּבְצֵאתָ֨ם לִפְנֵ֤י הַמֶּ֨לֶךְ֙ בַּסְּפָרִ֔ים וְנִפְתְּחָ֖ה אֶת־הַתִּיקִ֑ין וְנִרְאֶ֛ה אִם־צָדְק֖וּ דִּבְרֵ֥י מַֽרְקוֹשׂ׃ אָ֕ז יָקוּמ֞וּ עֲלֵיהֶ֣ם ׀ חִ֣יל הַמֶּ֗לֶךְ כֻּלָּ֨ם אֲחֻ֤זֵי חֶ֨רֶב֙ מְלֻמְּדֵ֣י מִלְחָמָ֔ה אִ֥ישׁ חַרְבּ֖וֹ עַל־יְרֵכ֑וֹ וְיַהְרְג֨וּ אֶת־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׃
And the king said to the sages, knowers of religion and law, and rulers on the laws, that this is the word of the king. To determine what to do for these criminals, these souls who tied a strong and sturdy bond upon the king to deceive him. And his sages 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 and may he seal with the royal signet! And 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[3] ”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 הַקְּהִלָּ֛ה אֲשֶׁ֖ר בָּעִ֥יר שַׂאֲרָגֽוֹשָׂה׃ וְהָאִ֤ישׁ זָקֵן֙ וּנְשׂ֣וּא פָנִ֔ים תָּ֥ם וְיָשָׁ֖ר יְרֵ֣א אֱלֹהִ֑ים וְסָ֨ר מֵרָ֜ע וְעוֹבֵ֧ד אֶת־יְהוָ֛ה בְּלֵ֥ב תָּמִ֖ים וּבְשִׁמְחָֽה׃ וַיַּ֗רְא וְהִנֵּ֨ה אִ֤ישׁ נִכְבָּד֙ בַּ֣עַל שֵׂעָ֔ר וְאֵז֥וֹר ע֖וֹר אָז֣וּר בְּמׇתְנָ֑יו אִ֥ישׁ פָּקִ֖יד עַל־כׇּל־בְּשׂוֹר֥וֹת טוֹבֽוֹת׃ וּמַרְאֵ֤הוּ כְּמַרְאֵה֙ אִ֣ישׁ הָאֱלֹהִ֔ים נוֹרָ֖א מְא֑וֹד אֵלִיָּ֥הוּ הַנָּבִ֖יא זָכ֥וּר לַטּֽוֹב׃ וַיָּ֤קִיצֵהוּ֙ מִשֵׁ֣נָת֔וֹ וַיֹּ֖אמֶר ל֑וֹ מַ֤ה לְּךָ֙ נִרְדָּ֔ם ק֣וּם מְהֵרָ֔ה ח֖וּשָׁה אַל־תַּעֲמֹֽד׃ לֵ֖ךְ אֶל־בֵּ֣ית הַקְּהִלָּ֑ה וּמַלֵּ֨א אֶת־הַתִּיקִ֤ין הָרֵיקִין֙ בְּסִפְרֵ֣י תּוֹרָ֔ה וְשׁ֖וּב שְׁכַ֥ב עַל־מִשְׁכָּבֶֽךָ׃ רַ֡ק הִשָּׁ֣מֶר לְךָ֩ וּשְׁמֹ֨ר נַפְשְׁךָ֜ מְאֹ֗ד פֶּן־תַּגִּ֕יד הַמַּרְאֶ֖ה לְזוּלָתֶ֑ךָ כִּי֩ אִ֨ם הַגֵּ֤ד תַּגִּיד֙ אֶת־הַדָּבָ֣ר הַזֶּ֔ה דָּמְךָ֥ בְּרֹאשְׁךָ֖ כִּי־מ֥וֹת תָּמֽוּת׃ וַיָּ֤קׇם הָאִישׁ֙ אֶפְרַ֣יִם בָּר֔וּךְ וְהִנֵּ֛ה אֵימָ֥ה גְדוֹלָ֖ה נוֹפֶ֣לֶת עָלָ֑יו וַיִּתְעַ֧שֵּׁת וַיַּ֛עַשׂ כַּאֲשֶׁ֥ר צִוּ֖וּהוּ הַמְּבַשֵּֽׂר׃ וַיָּבֹ֣א וַיֵּשֶׁ֔ב וַיִּשְׁכַּ֖ב עַל־מִטָּת֑וֹ וְשֵׁנָת֖וֹ עָרְבָ֥ה לֽוֹ׃ וּכְכׇל־הַחִזָּ֣יוֹן הַזֶּה֮ וּכְכׇל־הַמַּרְאֶ֣ה הַזֶּה֒ אֲשֶׁ֨ר רָאָ֤ה הָאִישׁ֙ אֶפְרַ֣יִם בָּר֔וּךְ כֵּ֨ן רָא֜וּ כׇּל־שַׁמָּשֵׁי֩ שְׁתֵּ֨ים עֶשְׂרֵ֧ה הַקְּהִלּ֛וֹת בָּעֵ֥ת הַהִ֖יא בַּלַּ֣יְלָה הַה֑וּא וּלְזוּלָתָ֖ם לֹ֥א הִגִּידֽוּ׃ כַּאֲשֶׁ֤ר צִוּ֨וּם֙ הָאִ֣ישׁ הַמְּבַשֵּׂ֔ר כֵּ֖ן עָשׂ֑וּ וְכׇל־אִישׁ֩ מֵהֶ֨ם דִּמָּ֜ה כִּי־ה֣וּא ׀ לְבַדּ֣וֹ רָאָ֗ה הַמַּרְאֶ֤ה וְהַחִזָּיוֹן֙ הַה֔וּא וַיִּפָּלֵ֥א בְּעֵינָ֖יו הַדָּבָֽר׃
That night, sleep fled from[4] ”That night… from” from Esther 6:1.  Ephraim Baruch, the sexton of the congregation in the city of Saragossa. And the man was an elder and high in standing, pure and upright and God-fearing, fleeing from evil and doing the work of YHVH with a whole heart and joy. And he saw, and look, an honored man, a great hairy man with a leather belt belted around his loins,[5] ”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[6] ”and his appearance… very awesome” from Judges 13:6.  – Elijah the Prophet of blessed memory! 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 building and fill the empty cases with Torah scrolls, and return and lie on your bed! But guard yourself and guard your life carefully, for if[7] ”But guard… for if” from Deuteronomy 4:9.  you tell this vision to another, if you dare tell this thing, your blood is on your head, for you will die, die!” And the man Ephraim Baruch woke up and, behold, great dread had fallen upon him, so he gathered himself and did what the messenger commanded him. And he went and returned and lay on his bed and his sleep was untroubled. And just as this whole experience and this whole vision that the man Ephraim Baruch saw, so too saw every sexton of the twelve congregations at that time, on that night, and they told nobody. Just as the messenger man commanded them they did, and each of them the same, for he saw the vision and the prophecy alone, and the matter was amazing in his eyes.

בַּ֠בֹּקֶר בְּשִׁבְעָ֨ה עָשָׂ֧ר י֛וֹם לְחֹ֥דֶשׁ עַשְׁתֵּי־עָשָׂ֖ר הוּא־חֹ֣דֶשׁ שְׁבָ֑ט בִּשְׁנַ֛ת שְׁלֹ֥שׁ עֶשְׂרֵ֖ה לְמֶ֥לֶךְ שַׂאֲרָגֽוֹשָׂנוֹשׂ׃ הִ֣יא שְׁנַת֩ אֶ֨לֶף וּשְׁלֹ֤שׁ מֵאוֹת֙ וַחֲמִישִׁ֣ים וּשְׁתַּ֔יִם לְחוּרְבַּ֖ן בֵּ֣ית מִקָּדְשֵׁ֑נוּ הִ֥יא שְׁנַ֨ת חֲמֵ֧שֶׁת אֲלָפִ֛ים וּמֵאָ֥ה וּשְׁמוֹנִ֖ים לִבְרִיאַ֥ת הָעוֹלָֽם׃ וַיָּ֖קׇם הַמֶּ֣לֶךְ שַׂאֲרָגוֹ֑שָׂנוֹשׂ ה֧וּא וְכׇל־שָׂרָ֛יו וְיוֹעֲצָ֥יו וַחֲכָמָ֖יו בַּ֥יּוֹם הַהֽוּא׃ וַיַּעֲבֹ֣ר פִּתְא֔וֹם דֶּ֖רֶךְ שׁ֣וּק הַיְּהוּדִ֑ים וּמַ֣רְקוֹשׂ הָרָשָׁ֔ע הוֹלֵ֖ךְ לְיָמִ֥ין הַמֶּֽלֶךְ׃ וְכׇל־חִ֨יל הַמֶּ֜לֶךְ הוֹלְכִ֧ים אַחֲרֵיהֶ֛ם חֲמוּשִׁ֖ים בְּכׇל־כְּלֵ֣י נָ֑שֶׁק וְכִשְׁלֹ֤שׁ מֵאוֹת֙ נַעֲרֵ֣י הַקּוֹצְרִ֔ים כֻּלָּם֙ אֲחוּזֵ֣י חֶ֔רֶב לַעֲשׂ֥וֹת בַּיְּהוּדִ֖ים כִּרְצוֹנָֽם׃ וַיהִ֥י כְעָבְרָ֖ם בְּשׁ֥וּק הַיְּהוּדִ֑ים מִהֲר֧וּ וַיֹּאמְר֛וּ לַחֲכָמִ֥ים וּלְדַיָּנִ֖ים בְּחׇפְזָֽה׃ וַיִּקְח֖וּ אֶת־תִּיקֵ֣י הַסְּפָרִ֑ים לְבָרֵךְ֙ אֶת־הַמֶּ֔לֶךְ וּלְהִשְׁתַּחֲו֥וֹת ל֖וֹ כְּמִשְׁפָּטָֽם׃ וַיֹּ֤אמֶר לָהֶם֙ הַמֶּ֔לֶךְ הַרְאֵ֧נִי נָ֛א אֶת־תּוֹרַ֥ת מֹשֶׁ֖ה אִ֣ישׁ הָאֱלֹהִ֑ים אֲשֶׁ֥ר אַתֶּ֛ם מְבָרְכִ֥ים אוֹתִ֖י בִּשְׁמֽוֹ׃ וַיהִ֨י כִשְׁמֹ֤עַ הַחֲכָמִים֙ וְהַדַּ֣יָּנִ֔ים וְכׇל־הָעָ֖ם אֶת־דְּבַ֣ר הַמֶּ֑לֶךְ וַיֵּ֤צֵא לִבָּם֙ וַיִּמַּ֔ס וַיהִ֖י לְמָֽיִם׃ וַיֶּחֶרְד֖וּ אִ֣ישׁ אֶל־אָחִ֑יו וַיֹּאמְר֧וּ מָה־זֹ֛את עָשָׂ֥ה הָאֱלֹהִ֖ים לָֽנוּ׃ וְהֵ֖מָּה לֹ֣א יָדְע֑וּ מָ֣ה ׀ עָשָׁ֣ה לָהֶ֗ם אֱלֹהֵ֤י אֲבֹתֵ֨יהֶם֙ שׁוֹמֵ֣ר יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל אֲשֶׁר־לֹ֥א יָנ֖וּם וְלֹ֥א יִישָֽׁן׃ וַיְמַהֲר֣וּ ׀ שָׂרֵ֣י הַמֶּ֗לֶךְ וַיִּקְח֨וּ בִּידֵיהֶ֜ם תִּ֤יק אֶחָד֙ וַיִּפְתְּח֔וּ וַיִּרְאֻ֖הוּ אֶת־הַסֵּ֑פֶר וַיִּמְצָ֥א כָת֖וּב בְּרֹ֥אשׁ הַדַּֽף׃ וְאַף־גַּם־זֹ֠את בִּֽהְיוֹתָ֞ם בְּאֶ֣רֶץ אֹֽיְבֵיהֶ֗ם לֹֽא־מְאַסְתִּ֤ים וְלֹֽא־גְעַלְתִּים֙ לְכַלֹּתָ֔ם לְהָפֵ֥ר בְּרִיתִ֖י אִתָּ֑ם כִּ֛י אֲנִ֥י יְהֹוָ֖ה אֱלֹהֵיהֶֽם׃ וַיִּקְרְא֥וּ אוֹת֖וֹ בְּאׇזְנֵ֥י הַמֶּֽלֶךְ׃ וַיִּקְח֗וּ גָ֚ם תִּ֣יק אָחֵ֔ר וַיִּפְתְּח֖וּהוּ כָרִאשׁ֑וֹן וַיִּרְאֻ֨הוּ֙ כְמִּשְׁפָּ֔טוֹ מָלֵ֖א בְּתוֹרַ֥ת הָאֱלֹהִֽים׃ וַיַּעֲשׂוּ־כֵ֕ן לַשְּׁלִישִׁ֖י וְלָרְבִיעִ֑י עַ֚ד אֲשֶׁ֣ר תַּ֔מּוּ שְׁלוֹשִׁ֥ים וְשִׁשָּׁ֖ה הַתִּיקִֽין׃
In the morning, on the seventeenth day of the eleventh month, that is the month of Sh’vat, in the thirteenth year of King Saragosanus – that is 1352 years from the destruction of our Temple, and 5180 years from the creation of the earth.[8] the year 1420 according to the Gregorian calendar count.  And King Saragosanus got up, he and all his nobles and advisors and sages on that day. And they passed as a surprise on the path of the Jewish market, and the evil Marcos was walking to the right of the king. And all the force of the king walked with them, armed with all kinds of weapons, and around three hundred reaper men, all gripping the sword, to do to the Jews as they desired. And so it was, as they passed in the Jewish market, they hurried and talked to the sages and the judges in haste. And they took the cases of the scrolls to bless the king and bow to him as per their law. And the king said to them, “Show me, please, the Torah of Moses, the man of the God by whose name you bless me.” And when the sages and judges and all the people heard the word of the king, their heart left, and it melted and became like water. 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, the guardian of Israel who neither slumbers nor sleeps,[9] ”the guardian of Israel… nor sleeps” from Psalm 121:4.  did for them. And the nobles of the king hurried and took in their hands one case and opened it and they saw it – the scroll – and they found written on the top of the page: “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, YHVH am their God.”[10] ”Yet even then… their God” from Leviticus 26:44.  And they read it in the ears of the king. And they took yet another case and opened it like the first and they saw it like its own law, full with the Torah of God. And they did this for a third, and a fourth, until they finished all thirty-six cases.

וַיהִ֣י כִּרְא֣וֹת הַמֶּ֘לֶךְ֮ וְהַשָּׂרִים֒ וְהִנֵּ֤ה בְּכׇל־הַתִּיקִין֙ סִפְרֵי־תּוֹרַ֣ת הָאֱלֹהִ֔ים וַיְבָרְכֵ֣ם הַמֶּ֔לֶךְ וַיִמְחָ֧ל לָהֶ֛ם מַ֖ס שָׁלֹ֣שׁ שָׁנִ֑ים וַיִּפְט֣וֹר אוֹתָ֗ם גָ֨ם מִנְדָּ֧ה בְל֛וֹ וַהֲלָ֖ךְ לָ֥א יִנְתְּנֽוּן׃ וַיֵּלְכ֛וּ גָ֥ם הֵ֖ם מֵאִתּ֥וֹ לְשָׁלֽוֹם׃ וַיְצַ֣ו הַמֶּ֣לֶךְ וַיִּתְל֣וּ אֵ֣ת מַ֢רְקוֹשׂ הָ֠רָשָׁ֟ע֩ עַל־הַעֵ֞ץ עַ֨ל אֲשֶׁ֧ר חָשַׁ֛ב לַעֲשׂ֥וֹת רָעָ֖ה בַּיְּהוּדִֽים׃ וְאֶת־נִבְלָתוֹ֮ הִשְׁלִ֣יכוּ בְּאַשְׁפָּה֒ עַד֩ אֱכ֨וֹל הַכְּלָבִ֤ים אֶת־בְּשָׂרוֹ֙ וְאֶת־דָּמ֣וֹ לִקְּק֔וּ וְאֶת־כׇּל־עַצְמוֹתָ֖יו שָׂרְפ֣וּ בָּאֵ֑שׁ וַחֲמַ֥ת הַמֶּ֖לֶךְ שָׁכָֽכָה׃ כֵּ֠ן יֹאבְד֤וּ כׇל־אוֹיְבֶיךָ֙ יְהֹוָ֔ה וְאֹ֣הֲבָ֔יו כְּצֵ֥את הַשֶּׁ֖מֶשׁ בִּגְבֻרָתֽוֹ׃
And so, when the king and the advisors saw that in all the cases there were scrolls of the Torah of God, the king blessed them, and issued a tax reprieve for three years, and redeemed them, and tribute, custom, and tolls they did not give.[11] ”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 seeking to do evil to the Jews. And his corpse they threw in a dungheap until the dogs ate his flesh and licked his blood, and all his bones they burned in a fire, and the wrath of the king was satiated. Thus may all your enemies perish, YHVH, and those who love you go out as the sun in its might![12] ”Thus may… in its might” from Judges 5:31. 

עַל־כֵּן קִיְּמ֣וּ וְקִבְּל֣וּ הַיְּהוּדִ֡ים הַנִּמְצָאִ֣ים בְּעִ֣יר שַׂאֲרָג֩וֹשָׂה֩ עֲלֵיהֶ֨ם ׀ וְעַל־זַרְעָ֜ם וְעַ֨ל כׇּל־הַנִּלְוִ֤ים עֲלֵיהֶם֙ וְלֹ֣א יַעֲב֔וֹר לִהְי֣וֹת עֹשִׂ֗ים אֵ֣ת י֨וֹם שִׁבְעָ֤ה עָשָׂר֙ לָחֹ֣דֶשׁ שְׁבָ֔ט כִּכְתָב֖וֹ וְכִזְמַ֑נּוֹ בְּכׇל־שָׁנָ֣ה וְשָׁנָ֗ה הֵ֧ם וּבְנֵיהֶ֛ם וּבְנֵ֥י בְנֵיהֶ֖ם עַ֥ד עוֹלָֽם׃ שָׂשׂ֛וֹן שִׂמְחָ֥ה וּמִשְׁתֶּ֖ה וְי֣וֹם ט֑וֹב וּמִשְׁלֹ֤חַ מָנוֹת֙ אִ֣ישׁ לְרֵעֵ֔הוּ וּמַתָּנ֖וֹת לָאֶבְיֹנִֽים׃ לַיְּהוּדִ֕ים הָֽיְתָ֥ה אוֹרָ֖ה וְשִׂמְחָ֑ה וְשָׂשֹׂ֖ן וִיקָֽר׃ כִּ֚י מַ֣רְקוֹשׂ הָרָשָׁ֔ע חָשַׁ֥ב עַל־הַיְּהוּדִ֖ים לְאַבְּדָ֑ם וַתָּ֛שׇׁב מַחֲשַׁבְתּ֥וֹ הָרָעָ֖ה עַל־רֹאֽשׁוֹ׃ וְתָל֨וּ אֹת֜וֹ עַל־הָעֵ֗ץ וַתְּהִ֧י נִבְלָת֛וֹ לְמַאֲכַ֖ל לְחַיַּ֣ת הָאָ֑רֶץ כֵּ֥ן יֹאבְד֛וּ כׇּל־אוֹיְבֵ֖ינוּ יְהוָֽה׃
Thus the Jews found in the city of Saragossa ordained and accepted upon them and upon their seed and upon all who join them, not to be broken, to practice the seventeenth day of the month of Shevat as it is written and at its time, every year, them and their children and their children’s children forever and ever. Joy, gladness, and feasting 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![13] ”The Jews had… honor” from Esther 8:16.  For Marcos the wicked wanted the Jews to be destroyed, but his evil plans were turned onto him, and they hung him on a tree, and his corpse became food for the wild beasts. Thus may all our enemies perish, YHVH!

The text from which Isaac Gantwerk Mayer produced this cantillized 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. Please contact us if you know of a publicly accessible digital image of the complete scroll.

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.




1 ”the Living… Existence” from Jeremiah 10:10
2 ”and the king… within him” from Esther 1:12.
3 ”all gripping… on thigh” from Song of Songs 3:8.
4 ”That night… from” from Esther 6:1.
5 ”a great… loins” from II Kings 1:8.
6 ”and his appearance… very awesome” from Judges 13:6.
7 ”But guard… for if” from Deuteronomy 4:9.
8 the year 1420 according to the Gregorian calendar count.
9 ”the guardian of Israel… nor sleeps” from Psalm 121:4.
10 ”Yet even then… their God” from Leviticus 26:44.
11 ”tribute… give” from Ezra 4:13, in Aramaic.
12 ”Thus may… in its might” from Judges 5:31.
13 ”The Jews had… honor” from Esther 8:16.

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

  • Avatar 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 !

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