Only Yesterday

By S. Y. Agnon; Barbara Harshav | Go to book overview

CHAPTER EIGHTEEN
Back in Jaffa

1

The next morning, Isaac got up early and returned to Jaffa. It turned out that Pnina sat in the same carriage as he. Their eyes met and she didn't seem to look favorably on him. In truth, Pnina felt nothing in her heart against him or against anybody else in the world, but the grief peeping out of her eyes made them hard. For she went to Eyn Ganim because she wanted to tear herself away from the noise of Jaffa and smell the smell of earth and see her good girlfriend. She tore herself away from Jaffa and smelled the smell of the earth and saw her friend, and finally she is returning to Jaffa and her friend is about to go back Outside the Land. What did her friend tell her? Every person is commanded to come to the Land of Israel, but even God didn't order them to waste all their years here. Pnina thought to herself, Now that my friend is about to go back Outside the Land, I should multiply my strength, but what am I and what is my strength, even if I multiply it a hundredfold. Just because I picked geraniums or oranges, am I entitled to see myself as if I had done something? And once again, her grief flickered in her dark handsome eyes, as a daughter of Israel who wants to do only good, but isn't offered an opportunity. Isaac felt her eyes turning favorable and started talking with her. He talked about this, that, and the other. About Eyn Ganim and its inhabitants, about Petach Tikva and the laborers' house there, and about some of our comrades who are avoiding it, forbidden to enjoy any benefit from it, because it was built with the money of the Zionist Agency, and they see every institution of laborers that the laborers don't build by themselves as if it has a grain of charity on it, and a genuine laborer has to stay away from it. And after Isaac told

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