Academic journal article Shofar

Theology at Thirteen

Academic journal article Shofar

Theology at Thirteen

Article excerpt

Which would be the greater sin, I agonized,

as I rushed from my new, secular high school

into the impending Sabbath darkness

of a frigid midwinter Friday:

A drawn-out breaking of the prohibition

against labor, by walking the many miles home,

lugging my boatload of textbooks,

or, a shorter transgression, by brazenly hopping the bus,

breaking the rule against post-twilight transportation?

Because walking would be harder, even

painful, the punishment meted out

even as I was committing the sin

(Dante couldn't have improved on this scheme),

that's what I chose, that's what I deserved,

recent Yeshiva boy, having proved

too timid to ask the authorities for a change

of program allowing me to leave

school early and observe the Sabbath.

Moreover, walking would guarantee

my arriving home too late to attend

even part of Friday night service, more

cause for guilt, more punishment in store

for this Prodigal Son of Brooklyn.

Wasn't Father going to be proven right,

having opposed my breaking away

from parochial school, my insisting

on going to godless Samuel J. …

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