Thursday, October 22, 2009

Correction...and the yichus goes even further back, to Sdom!


This from the Haham baLeylot of the Sefardi Congregation of Creedmoor (Frenkel's Shul), Haham Rahamim Loyashar:

"Gimpel, your information about the cards is not correct. I am also a de Menubal de Montres on my mother's side and we were always told this about the "tres cartas":

In Spain of old, the poor were supported anonymously, with wooden cards which they took to the market and which entitled the bearer to free food and clothing that was then tallied by the merchant and paid for by the communal tzedaka fund.

Our ancestors forged and sold these cards, and also used them in their card tricks that later became three card monty when printed playing cards replaced the cumbersome shingle sized wooden alms cards. Once the counterfeit cards were forged and sold, the situation became such that the community tzedaka fund was paying for food and clothing for thousands of poor people. Actually, the Jewish population of the town was perhaps 1000 with maybe 30 true aniyim or cholim. Yet, just as today with our Federal chessed program fraud, somehow 40,000 aniyim were getting free food from the communal till!

Of course most of the free food which was obtained by Nebela shills or family members was being exported to other parts of the Spanish empire, or sold in one or more of the Nebela restaurants, take out shops or even the famous HyperNebela supermarket. The rest of the cards were sold to renegade Jews and goyim alike. In fact, the phrase "Shygetz Aross" is based on the Judeo-Spanish phrase "Sheketz, arroz," meaning that there is an unclean creature in the rice, but also a code meaning that a non-Jew was coming to buy food with an improperly obtained tzedaka fund card.

HyperNebela was the first major kosher store in medieval Spain to accept both forged and authentic alms cards, albeit of course for its own reasons, namely both collecting cash from the alms fund AND reselling the cards to unwary travelers who were told it was a sort of identification card that was necessary to carry when traveling in the region.

Actually, it was an identification card of sorts as we Nebelas controlled much of the brigandry in the region and when one of our highway robbers saw this card he knew that the traveler was a mark and a sucker who was therefore fair game. We were true followers in the ways of Sdom ve'Amorah, but rather than getting burned and turned into pillars of salt, today we are the leaders in pillage when it comes to incinerating buildings and salting insurance proceeds away in Lichtenstein, Panama and the Cayman Islands.

In fact our earliest traceable ancestor is someone who fled Sdom before it was turned into a pillar of salt. The chain of descent from the Baalei HaChessed d'Sdom is lost, however, and only our reputation for chessed and mischar al pi minhag Sdom remains.

So, the three cards referred either to the three alms cards per resident that were forged by Yedidya Todros around the time of the naming of the city, or to the three wooden alms cards that marks placed their bets on while playing the predecessor of Three Card Monty."

Hope this helps, and thank you for preserving the history of our distinguished family for future generations of avarice and deceit.

Haham Rahamim Loyashar de Menubal de Montres, Samach Mem."

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