Only Yesterday

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

CHAPTER TEN
Orphanhood

1

After Bloykof died and his widow left the Land, Isaac was left without a friendly home. In truth, for a few weeks before Bloykof passed away, he hadn't gone to the artist's house, and when Bloykof died he withdrew into himself. In those days, Isaac hid from his comrades and sat by himself a lot, wondering at the world full of suffering followed by death. And in his thoughts, he enumerated all his comrades who had died. Once he went to his neighbors from his homeland, the seminary students. He came and found only two of his four comrades, for one of them was sick and was taken to the hospital and one got married and went to live in his father-in-law's house.

That woman was lame, and it was hard to find a match for her because of her defect. And that defect was the result of an act, for once, violating the prohibition of the holiday, she went to the grave of Simon the Saint and broke her leg and became crippled. Don't the graves of the Saints bring healing, and how did an accident happen on the grave of the Saint? But she went to show off her new dress, got her legs tangled in her dress and broke her leg. But the Saint had mercy on her and sent her a mate and blindfolded his eyes so he wouldn't look at her defect. And because he didn't look at the defect of a Jewish girl, he won a wife and support.

His two comrades laughed at that fool who was tempted by the bread of fools. But when they look at their own meager bread that they cut up into pieces as tiny as olives and are never sated by it, they justify what he did. Not every Amnon wins his Tamar, and not every Solomon finds a Shulamit. How much their hearts had hummed when they lived Outside the Land and read in the novel The Love of

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