AT ‘THE OLD PEOPLE’S REST’, JERUSALEM
ASCORE or so of old men with white beards seated at a long table covered by open books of the Talmud. The sacred scroll of the Law is enshrined at their left, and behind them we see ponderous old tomes, tight fitted into the alcove of a vault-like chamber, with quaint curves and angles. Is not this some souvenir from the brush of an old master? No, it is a group of inmates of the ‘Old People’s Rest’ at Jerusalem.
What strikes one most about the inmates is the refinement and intellectuality of their features. It is a workhouse where aged failures in the struggle for existence are permitted to pass away in peace. Not here will we meet with degraded types of the European inebriate or jailbird. They are all representative of one very fascinating aspect of Judaism which it is the fashion to doubt or decry. It is not only in India that the Yogi, or contemplative Sage, is to be met with, who, having fulfilled his whole duty as a man, retires from active life to meditate on the here and the hereafter. We have our Jewish Yogis even outside the dazzling effulgence which emanates from the Zohar. They work not, neither do they spin, but the world is better for their being in it, even if not of it. It is refreshing to think that not everybody is in a hurry, not everybody busy money-making or money-spending, and that a few there are who are survivals of more tranquil ages.
E. N. ADLER, 1895.