A rich, poignant, deep, tragic and somber novel of love, faith and spirituality. Four years after the Chmielnicki massacres of 1648 in which tens of thousands of Jews were massacred by Cossack hordes, a pious Jew Jacob, exists as a slave ,captured during the massacres in the mountains of Poland for gentile, peasants. Treated like a beast, he is shown mercy and tenderness by his master's beautiful daughter Wanda, who he falls in love with.
When he returns to how own Jewish town, Jacob cannot forget Wanda and brings her back to his home as a convert to Judaism. But as conversion was forbidden in that time and place, he cannot reveal her gentile birth and to cover up this, and not let this be revealed by her Polish accent, he must pass her off as a mute. Her name is now Sarah.
Despite her great reservoir of kindness, and piety she is ill treated by most of the community. Jacob has to also forebear the capricious cruelty of the local Polish nobleman Adam Pilsidsky. Before Wanda dies in childbirth she reveals that she is of gentile birth. As a result of pressure from the narrow minded hypocrites within the community especially the execrable Gershon, Sarah is given a donkey's burial, and the baby boy she has delivered declared not a part of the community. But he is looked after by a good hearted couple and is fetched by his father who takes him to the Land of Israel. 20 years pass before Jacob returns and a great miracle takes place to show that Sarah's (Wanda) soul was indeed that of a daughter of Israel. Full of spiritual phenomena, as well as the rich superstitions of the time, this novel will excite those interested in such subjects and is a classic and jewel of Jewish literature by a master in that craft.