Stephen Berer
the Eternal Jew's biographer

The Eternal Jew’s Tale, #113, A Tale on 4 Levels, 7

Solar Eclipse Time Lapse; image colorized and modified by the author, obtained from Wikimedia Commons, Solar Eclipse, composite clock, by AstroAnthony, in the public domain.
Solar Eclipse Time Lapse; image colorized and modified by the author, obtained from Wikimedia Commons, Solar Eclipse, composite clock, by AstroAnthony, in the public domain.
My previous post of The Eternal Jew’s Tale was on Oct. 2, 2023. Because of the Simchat Torah massacre of Oct. 7 I suspended publication of this epic story in deference to the victims, the hostages, and the national shock. Although the tragedy remains fresh in our minds, and the on-going war brings its own stress and pain and open wounds, I believe it is important to begin building the groundwork of a new normalcy with a new/renewed trust that the hatred around us is, ultimately, temporary, that our friends and alliances are enduring, and that our home in Israel is permanent. Perhaps now more than ever, literature will help us achieve those ends. Therefore, I have decided to restart publication of The Eternal Jew’s Tale.
In this episode we conclude our “Tale on 4 Levels.” In the previous episodes we read Reb Susya’s journal, gaining insights into his envy, his anger, and his troubled life. We also reached a resolution to the attempt to expel the Polish nobleman, Danyo (our hero’s employer), from his ancestral home. Thus…

The Eternal Jew’s Tale

Sixteenth Era, Part 7, 1320 C.E., Chelm
IV. The Yesod* is Sod**
* Kabbala: foundation; ** the 4th and deepest level of analysis, “secret/unrevealed”
Now as I’m compilin’ Danyo’s case, Susya’s confession will likely be called ‘a bombshell,’ and all the evidence against Danyo be nothin’ but a ‘house of cards.’ But ‘bombshells ain’t yet been built for our death, and playin’ cards and their tricksy ways ain’t yet come from China to Europe’s heart, tho Mamluk princes might already be bettin’ on rummy or poker or some such games. ‘Burnt down the town like a Mongol lord’ is the way that Danyo describes Susya’s book.
Me, I sits for many a day decidin’ whether to offer it up as evidence in court. I never held no urge to harm Susya, and even if I did, enough trash already been heaped on us Jews, so I weren’t inclined to add to the heap.
Just about the time we needed to leave to go to the trial, word come in of Susya and the cherem* he called on me.
* Hebrew: excommunication
Just like his diary seemed to imply, there was a battle ragin’ inside his mind — envy, incompetence, anger and loss that struggled against compassion and law; and fear and awe of a holy man, all overlaid with that spiteful wraith who wanted his schlong* or wanted his ass. (There’s blood on either edge of that sword.)
* penis; German for snake and borrowed as part of the emerging vocabulary of Yiddish
After his rant of cherem on me, there was much fuss and shock and waggin’ of tongues. All up in arms the loyal few that still attended his *beit midrash*. But the very next day he reversed himself, all self-flagellatin’, all tears and moans. And that was the last he preached to them. Some say they saw him walkin’ east with a sack slung over his shoulder, maybe fleein’ to Kievan Rus, because of his shame or because that woman was bitin’ his butt. Others say he cut off his beard, and who knows the other side of that bridge?
*-* house of study; synagogue
I feel shame and sorrow myself, bound up in troubles like a storm on the road I didn’t see comin’ and couldn’t avoid. I give Danyo Susya’s book. As for the deeds we slightly touched up (in a manner of speakin’), fine as they were, they were unneeded now, so we boiled them up to make some glue and spare ourselves false witnessin’, which be sin enough, but also avoidin’ an evil eclipse, as we read in Tosefta* Sukkah 2:5.
* A text supplemental to Mishnah, which states:
   “On account of 4 things are luminaries eclipsed: …on account of writing forgeries… 
    And when the luminaries are eclipsed it is a bad omen…”
And Susya’s book were enough proof to send Siegfried and Bogdan’s wife to prison for perjurizin’ themselves, tho I heard Siegfried paid his way out, and I doubt there’s chains intricate enough to keep that wraith-like woman cuffed.
In the next episode, sirens sweetly singing in warmer climes.
About the Author
I am a writer, educator, artist, and artisan. My poetry is devoted to composing long narrative poems that explore the clash between the real and the ideal, in the lives of historical figures and people I have known. Some of the titles of my books are: The Song uv Elmallahz Kumming A Pilgimmage tu Jerusalem The Pardaes Dokkumen The Atternen Juez Talen You can listen to podcasts of my Eternal Jew posts on my personal blog, Textures and Shadows, which can be found on my website, or directly, at: I live just outside Washington, DC with my bashert, and we have two remarkable sons. Those three light my life.
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