Only Yesterday

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

CHAPTER TEN
Isaac Is About to Marry Shifra

1

Hinda Puah's visit made an impression. Even though Rebecca welcomed Isaac, she was ashamed to give her daughter to a fellow whose family they didn't know. Now that decent people had come and testified that he was from a respectable family, her heart was relieved and she could hold her head up in public.

What was left out by Hinda Puah was filled up by Reb Haim Rafael who accompanied her. She praised Isaac's forefathers back to Reb Yudel Hasid of blessed memory, and he praised Isaac who studied together with him every single Sabbath. The opinion of that blind man who knew the Six Orders of the Mishnah by heart eased folks' minds about Isaac for they had thought he was just some Zionist, like most of the Polaks and Lithuanians who come to the Land of Israel to anger the Creator in His own home.

After Isaac paid his landlady for his Sabbath expenses, he asked her if he could eat in her house on weekdays too. She told him, The stove that cooks for the whole house will also cook for him, but not every day does she cook. Sometimes she warms up what is left over from the Sabbath, and sometimes they make a meal of bread and oil and onion. But if he wants cooked food, she's willing to cook for him, and meanwhile the children will also benefit. And when the landlady laundered the linens, she also took his linens to launder. Isaac was freed from the bother of food and all the trouble. From the bother of food since he didn't have to go to restaurants. From all the trouble since he didn't know the language of the Russian laundresses.

Ever since the day he came to live in the woodcarver's house, most of his time was his to do with as he wanted, like praying in pub-

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