The Scroll of Tislit

The Scroll of Tislit

El Hi Ani © All Rights Reserved

Shortly after the destruction of the Second Temple (70 CE), Jews were dispersed about the four corners of the Roman Empire. Priests made every effort to travel together and established communities where possible. People still remember that priests lived in Debdoo in northern Morocco. But few recall that once upon a time, Aghamat was a city of priests too and that at some later date, when Jews were allowed to live in Marrakech, most priests settled there.

There were priests (Cohanim) of many kinds: some conducted sacrificial rituals, some were architects specialized in temple construction but our ancestors were priests-scribes. They remembered everything and when the time came for them to seek refuge outside of Judea, they walked barefoot all the way to the kingdom of Ephraim at the edge of the world and settled in Aghamat.

The priests brought to Aghamat seven Torah Scrolls written by Temple scribes. Alas, six scrolls were destroyed across the ages due to persecutions in Morocco and Iberia. It was a time when the world turned upside down, for respectful neighbors turned into enemies, forcing Jews to leave Aghamat for Seville (1142 CE). After a reprieve, persecutions followed the Jews. For the Rabbi of Seville, a priest-scribe too, was called upon to convert to Christianity (1391 CE). The rabbi refused and went to jail. One day a Torah Scroll was smuggled into his cell. When the rabbi opened the scroll, it transformed into a chariot that transported him to Morocco!

The Scroll of Seville was one of seven scrolls priests brought to Aghamat after the destruction of Jerusalem. But now, may the Merciful have mercy, the whereabouts of only one scroll is known; that is the Scroll of Tislit, celebrated every year in the month of Heshvan in Ashkelon. It is the most wonderful of all scrolls. It is the most powerful of shields. It had the power to protect from bullets. It even survived fires. Even Moslems celebrated it in Tislit!

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