Chapter I, Part I

by Rex Yehudi (shoham)

It's Friday night, January 28th 2037. Pittsburgh Pennsylvania, USA. The setting: The house of a revered Hassid-- eccentric by reputation, but nonetheless impeccable and unquestioned in his faith, and in his observance of Jewish rites and traditions. His name is Mordechai Meyer Mendelhsohn, of the Mezritch Mendehlsohns. Holding a piece of Shabbos Challah, Rav Mendelsohn leaned in to talk with his honored guest-- a young Jew, not of the Observant persuasion. Wearing a ball-cap out of respect for the family, and appreciation for their hospitality, the young lad nods intently-- taking in the words of the Rabbi as he responds dutifully to the subject at hand. “You know why I do it?” The Rabbi asked in a near whisper, pointing a piece of ½ baked bread at his guest. The Rabbi's head, bread, and hat bouncing in concert, if not unison-- the Rabbi asked again: “You know why? And if I tell you-- which I will, ha! It doesn't leave this house... Or if it leaves this house, it changes as these things always do, or should I say often do... Ah, better yet-- it doesn't really change, and your memory of it, and MY memory stays the same-- in our minds, but in reality... in reality it changes-- so much so, so that almost no one will recognize it-- ha! Except you and I will! See?” The young Jew, fascinated, not so much by the words of the old man, but that somehow those words are actually making perfect sense to the speaker, if to no one else in the world. “That's it-- get it?!?” Just now the boy wonders if he and the old man are just amusing each other, out of respect, or if there'll be any pay-off coming after all. It's 2:35 in the morning, and this has been going on much of the night. This back and forth is typical-- not just for the Rabbi, but for his guest as well. “Where was I? Right! I do it for this reason-- and this-- in a different time, and in a different country, is what they might have called heresy, after all-- so in this way, if no other, we live in very privileged times, now, and in a very privileged place to be sure... I do it for this reason, this justification-- that there is a pain so deep, and so unimaginably unendurable that Hashem, the almighty, all-knowing master and creator of the universe-- blessed be his name, and his creation had in a sense the divine longing to create. And in his infinite wisdom, he foresaw this very moment, and that it would please him so, that it would indeed have been worth it all for just one or two good deeds to be done-- be them spiritual, physical or otherwise” “Moreover!... Moreover, in his infinite benevelonce for all of the pangs of conscious existence that we - you and I- and in fact every other soul that ever has or ever will feel is justified by one or two deeds, by just one or two moments of utter joy like we're sharing at this very moment!” “Let's have a L'chaim”