Articles tagged "Judaism"


The Toad Prince

I am standing in front of the mirror, afraid that I am bad. I am ugly because I am bad. I am a toad because the wicked witch has cast a spell on me. That’s why my head is like a toad. Jewish. Squash…...

from “Soul Mate”

My father-in-law, Feibush, arrived unannounced at my doorstep in the middle of the week. I was writing out a mezuzah and so, fortunately, my cabinet of secular books was closed. Feibush’s eyes brightened…...

How Old is the Queen of England?

The old dog lumbers beside me, exhaling and inhaling laboriously and tracking my steps with her bowed head turned white with old age. Owls perch on the branches canopying the path, against the indigo background…...

The First Love

Once I happened to visit a fishing village in the Andaman Sea, west of the Malay Peninsula in the Indian Ocean. Unlike typical fishing villages, this one was not situated on shore, but floated in the sea.…...

Parting, a scene

"Parting," first published in Hebrew in 1914, revolves around the biblical injunction (and the Jewish custom) that a man must marry and support his brother's widow. However, in later times, as bigamy…...

Käte Frankenthal, an Activist Physician

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Mynheer

It is bitter, each Passover, to read, in the luxury and voluptuousness of being The solitude of the four boards from the palm slapped over the cheek the morning tear urged against the abandonment of oneself…...

A Friend of the Archangel

When Gabriel left his country for the first time he was 55 years old. At first he thought he was lucky to have escaped the communist hell. In his own city of Sighet it had become impossible for him to…...

A Song

In the Jewish parliament The walls are burning. People are learning Talmud, arguing over commentaries. Suddenly--quiet, please! A gentile comes in And says in gentile-ese: Gentlemen, That's the kind…...

The Happiness of Also Refusing Happiness

The happiness of refusing happiness The joy of refusing joy Passionately keeping passion back Proudly breaking pride in ecstasy. Night in the forest on trouble's path All rustling has become one tree…...

Seclusion (from the poem “Kotzk”)

When the decadent genius of Chasidus Comprehended what the secret of the Jew is, He lived by himself for many years. The Jew is loneliness. His sole belovèd is The world's alone one, the Creator.…...

This Year

This year I bore no fruit only leaves that give no shade I'm afraid, Rabbi, I'm afraid, Lord, that a hungry weary man curses me on the endless road to Jerusalem ...

A Dove in the Distance

A dove in the distance fluttered, flitting through the forest—— unable to recover she flew up, flustered, hovering circling round her lover; having thought the thousand years to the Time of…...

Gold

Why is my beloved so haughty, and why is he so angry with me? Before Him why do I shake like a reed? He's forgotten how long I walked in the wilderness after Him--and doesn't respond, though I…...

It’s Not Time For . . .

It's not time for a change. As long as I can remember it's never been time for a change. Like cars that screech to a halt houses stand poised in their old breeding ground of rotten acacia leaves.From…...

from Outcast

Dreams don't come to us without being provoked externally, which is what happened to me yesterday when I woke up at five in the morning, precisely the hour I had intended to get up. I found myself…...

At Home in Exile: An Interview with Shimon Ballas

This interview appeared in slightly different form in Keys to the Garden: New Israeli Writing, edited and translated by Ammiel Alcalay (San Francisco: City Lights, 1996). Ammiel Alcalay: Starting with…...