Only Yesterday

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

CHAPTER TWELVE
In the House of Reb Fayesh

1

In the house of Reb Fayesh there is quiet and silence. In the house, there is no one but Reb Fayesh and Reb Fayesh's wife and Reb Fayesh's daughter. Gone were the days when the Guardians of the Walls would gather in Reb Fayesh's home and Reb Fayesh would sit at the head with his head leaning on his left arm and his eyes sleeping and seeing everything in the heart of every single one of them, and when he opened his mouth everyone shrank without a word in awe and trembling and sweat, and the house of Reb Fayesh was so full they would sit on Reb Fayesh's bed. Now Reb Fayesh himself lies on that bed and everyone stays away from the house of Reb Fayesh, for Reb Fayesh has already abandoned the world and the world has abandoned Reb Fayesh.

Rebecca sits at the window and knits a white Kippa, which she meant at first to make for her father, for all he has are black velvet Kippas and he looks strange in them, for everyone here wears white Kippas. But before she could finish her work, her father had gone to Safed, and Reb Fayesh got sick and all his Kippas have become tattered from lying down in them. She went back to knitting the Kippa for her husband. Rebecca sits with her work. Sometimes she wipes her eyes and sometimes she wipes her eyelids. Across from her sits Shifra, and polishes the Etrog box, which is about to be pawned, for ever since the day Reb Fayesh got sick, a curse fell on income, and expenses increased, and Isaac, who used to ease their needs, had gone to Jaffa and didn't come back.

There they sit, the mother and the daughter, one busy at her work and her grief and the other busy at her work and her grief. And

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