Only Yesterday

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

CHAPTER SIX
For the Time Being

1

In the morning, Isaac had a slight headache because at night his sleep was troubled by a dog barking at his window. He got up and went into the dining room to eat breakfast. He found the room full of worshippers and that guest who was in mourning was standing before the Ark. Isaac returned to his room until the worshippers finished their prayer and thought about all he had to do. He started arranging his things. He picked up his valise and rummaged around in his belongings, he picked up an item and put it down, picked up an item and put it down, like things he had no desire for.

Once again, the sound of mourning reached him, the sound of a subdued melody. What am I looking for, what am I looking for, Isaac asked himself. It's my Tefillin I'm looking for, my Tefillin I'm looking for, and I don't have them, I don't have them, because before I went to Jaffa I left them with the belongings I don't need. And with every single biblical verse heard from the house of mourning, it seemed to Isaac that something was taking place there. He left his belongings and went back to the dining room, where the mourner was forming a Minyan. Isaac stood among the worshippers and scowled, ready to defend himself against anyone who challenged him. No one did challenge him, but on the contrary, they offered him Tefillin. He took them grudgingly and put them on, and once again he scowled at them to see if they were watching him. But he soon shifted his eyes from the others and started praying.

After all the worshippers left, the landlady came and brought Isaac breakfast. After he ate and drank, he recited the blessing after food with a tune like Reb Fayesh, whom he had heard reciting the

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