"The King of the Khazars, a man of piety and fervent devotion to his religion, was told in a dream that his intentions were agreeable to God, but not his actions."
--THE BOOK CUSARI.
THE book Cusari was written by the famous poet Judah Halevi, whose life and poetical works were presented in the preceding section. Halevi was evidently impelled to write this prose poem, the Cusari, by his religious faith. It is an imaginary dialogue between wise men of various religions, in which the Jewish speaker triumphs. The discussion takes place in the court of the King of the Cusars, or Khazars, a people about whom medieval legend told an interesting tale. They lived far inland in Asia and, having no established religion of their own, they resolved to investigate all religions and select the best. After much consideration they selected the Jewish religion and remained faithful to it for centuries, until finally their nation was destroyed by the advance of the Tartar hordes. This legend forms the basis of Halevi's book, a wholly imaginary discourse, from which we reprint the celebrated central portion, the argument of the wise men.