Only Yesterday

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

CHAPTER NINETEEN
Isaac Parts from Sonya and Ascends to Jerusalem

1

Many times, Isaac wanted to ascend to Jerusalem, but didn't. All the while he was idle, he didn't have money for the trip. When he began working and earning, he was afraid to leave his work lest it be given to others. Meanwhile, he met Sonya. When he met Sonya, he forbade himself to leave her and go to another place. When she began to stay away from him, he once again considered ascending to Jerusalem.

Once he found Sonya and accompanied her home. On the way, the conversation turned to Jerusalem. Said Isaac, I haven't been there yet. Said Sonya, Anyone who has a drop of blood in him and not colored water goes and sees. And said Sonya, There isn't a place in Jerusalem that I didn't visit. All the things I saw! The art school Bezalel and Professor Schatz, Ben-Yehuda's study and the desk where he wrote his great dictionary when he was in prison. And said Sonya, All the days I spent in Jerusalem, I never once tasted sleep. By day I went to see the antiquities and at night I strolled on the Old City walls with the Bezalel students and we danced in the light of the moon.

A pale flush suddenly covered her face, as on that night when Isaac first kissed her. Isaac saw it, and his heart trembled in him like the gold down that trembled on her lip. He stretched out his hand and stroked her head. She bowed her head and said, Let's go. When they came to her house, she held out her hand and told him goodbye. Before he could tell her goodbye, she disappeared.

In those days, his heart was divided. He wanted to ascend to Jerusalem and he wanted to stay in Jaffa. Meanwhile, he neglected

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