In the Little Shtetl of Vaysechvoos: Mendel the Merchant
The townspeople of Vaysechvoos were all astir. Mendel the Merchant had come all the way from Kiev with all manner of merchandise to interest those who had a few kopeks with which to purchase things.
Fine heavy woolens for the cold winters of Vaysechvoos were spread out for the women to see. Delicacies to adorn the Sabbath table were before them. And a curious contraption, which no one in Vaysechvoos had ever seen before, was displayed with more grandeur than could be described. It was a simple box with a crank on it, attached to another wooden box with a rounded glass protuberance. Everyone wondered what it was and when they could no longer contain their curiosity, the towns people asked Mendel the Merchant, What is this strange thing?”
He smiled, then replied, “It is a machine that makes light.”
“That’s impossible!” the people shouted and some began to laugh. Then Mendel turned the crank over and over until the glass bubble shone brightly.
The laughter stopped. Everyone was astounded.
“It couldn’t be!” some uttered with fear in their voices. Others were convinced that their eyes were playing tricks on them. Still others called Mendel a sorcerer and said, “This is witchcraft.”
No one understood. Instead they insisted that Mendel the Merchant leave Vaysechvoos, for everyone knew that light only came from the sun or from fire. And to this day, the people of Vaysechvoos use the light of the sun by day and the light from burning candles by night.
Director of Communications, Missionary
Susan Perlman is one of the co-founders of Jews for Jesus. Susan is the associate executive director of Jews for Jesus and also director of communications for the organization. She also serves as the editor in chief of ISSUES, their evangelistic publication for Jewish seekers. She left a career track in New York City to help launch Jews for Jesus in San Francisco in the early 1970s. See more here.