Echoes of Elul, Day 24: Excerpt from “Carcass of the Lion”

By Martin Nakell

From a novel-in-progress: Carcass of the Lion. In an 1897 Pogrom, Herschel Davidowicz, age 6, witnessing the murder of his mother, goes mute.

A Wunder Rebbe tells Herschel (now 10) that he needn’t speak. He can write.
Wunder Rebbe:

“Why do we love Torah? We love Torah because it is the story of the relentless striving of imperfect people – striving not for perfection. For G-d? An imperfect G-d, G-d the Imperfect? God created the universe, the Torah begins. In the beginning G-d created Torah. See? The Great Poem. Torah begins in myth. The waters above and the waters below….these are stories, as Maimonides teaches, for us, who strive. Did Moshe, who wrote the Torah, understand more than he was writing? Torah may not even contain lessons for us. We struggle to understand anything of it. Its radiant virtue lies in its having been written – as a book in search of itself, this radiance emanates from the genius of that struggle. Listen, Herschel, why does G-d promise Abraham the land of Israel – Eretz Yisrael – in a covenant? a pact. a promise. a bond. It’s an absurd moment that has no reason. The Rabbis will offer nice answers. They are wonderful, they are in themselves a radiance. But they are not answers. They are speculations whose radiance only reflects the source, Torah. Every Jew writes – with their life if not otherwise – their own Torah, their own Book in search of itself, their own search for G-d. Each Jew is G-d’s creation continues G-d’s creative force. G-d is Torah; Torah is G-d. You, Herschel, will write now the beginning of your Torah. The Torah of Herschel Davidowicz; Herschel Davidowicz in search of G-d;
G-d in search of Herschel Davidowicz. It will be the Herschel Davidowicz Torah like the Torah of Moses one of divine imperfection. That’s where G-d resides.”

Comments are closed.