Sunday, April 7, 2013

Episode Thirteen


Episode Twelve closed with the Rabbi comforting Itzhak for the loss of his family, and calling them all together for Kiddush.
Rabbi:  May God and our ancient traditions bring you peace, Itzhak.
Itzhak:  Peace I need, Rabbi.
Rabbi:   If you seek it, you will find it, my son. All right, then. Now! [Claps hands, calls] Time for Kiddush, everyone!
    All file in quietly and take seats. The sound of bombs is very near and the wail of sirens and pounding of the antiaircraft guns is continuous. As the Rabbi speaks, Mrs. Winkelman pours the wine and Lusia and Genia distribute it. The glasses used for the wine are as various and non-descript as the furniture.
Rabbi: Before we start, I'd like to say a few words. The bombs are falling close, and they will come closer. We will pray that this danger passes over us as the Angel of Death passed over the houses of the Israelites in Egypt when the doors were marked with the blood of a lamb. As we agreed, we will not seek the safety of the cellar, but will stay up here to pray together for our deliverance, and the deliverance of all who are in peril. And if we are taken, it will be together.
   (The bombs are now very close, and the noise of them interrupts him many times  in the following dialogue.)
Rabbi: [Continues] We as a people have been condemned to perish by our oppressors, not for any transgression of ours, but only because we are what we are—Jews.
Do you know, when you think about it, there's comfort in that--in being condemned. For there is nothing more that they can do to us. Death has already staked out his claim on us--now we can laugh in his face, the face of death, and take comfort in and enjoy--yes, enjoy!--the worship of our Lord!
Let us begin.
   The ceremony begins. They drink the wine. The Rabbi may sing or chant the words. This final part of the scene lasts for three or four minutes--or as long as it can reasonably be sustained. The giant footsteps of the bombs are heard approaching the house. Falling metal from the anti-aircraft guns is heard raining down upon the roof, and the air raid sirens are screaming.
"Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them.
And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all work which he had made.  And God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made."
   The bombardment has reached a crescendo. The bombs are walking directly over the house. They are all in such peril as to be at the point of death. The Rabbi  stops the usual Friday night services and goes directly to the great prayer.
"Blessed art Thou, O Lord our God, King of the Universe, who has kept us alive to this time."
   The window behind the heavy drapes breaks with a startling crash. The chandelier sways, dust filters down from the ceiling. The chandelier lights flicker and go out, leaving only the light from the few candles. The Rabbi is interrupted by a particularly loud explosion, after which he continues in a firm voice.
"Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is One!—And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be upon thy heart, and thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and thou shalt talk of them when thou sit down in thy house, and when thou walks by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou rises up. And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thy hand, and they shall be for frontlets between thine eyes. And thou shalt write them upon the door-posts of thy house and upon thy gates."
   The scene ends in darkness, with the voice of the Rabbi and the sound of the bombs fading away with the light.
                                    End of Episode Thirteen
And so the little group huddles under the merciless bombardment, secure in their faith and comforted by it in the face of death. Adonai…adonai….

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