Stephen Berer
the Eternal Jew's biographer

The Eternal Jew’s Tale, #121, Gilgul, 2

Gilgul, Hovering; image colorized and modified by the author, obtained from Wikimedia Commons, merging 2 Blake images, Enitharmon (Huntington) and Urizen (British Mus.), both in the public domain.
Gilgul, Hovering; image colorized and modified by the author, obtained from Wikimedia Commons, merging 2 Blake images, Enitharmon (Huntington) and Urizen (British Mus.), both in the public domain.
In this episode, Philistine pillars cast down…

The Eternal Jew’s Tale
Eighteenth Era, Part 2, 1389 C.E., Prague

Arrivin’ early at the study house, I roll out the scroll on a well waxed board, prideful, I confess, at the elegant shape and consistent flow of letter and word.
“Let’s roll it to Yitro,* *Anokhi Adonai.* Aahhh. Just as I thought. See these crowns**? Is that how you make them? Is that your hand? And here, these hays*** with their zigzag caps. Is that a special flourish you add?”
* name of a Torah portion, Shmote/Ex. 18:1 – 20:23
*-* Hebrew: I am God! Begins the 10 Commandments
** decorative flourishes, only on certain letters; *** a Hebrew letter
Puzzled, dismayed, I stutter,
“No. That ain’t somethin’ I’m inclined to do. I don’t understand. What happened here? I well remember the face of the rav that asked me to scribe a scroll for him, but as for his name, I plumb forgot. He even paid a retainer for it. And I remember the hundreds of days of work layin’ it down, letter and word. This be my work; of that I’m sure, but as for these details… I don’t know.”
“Where’s the contract you signed for him? Surely he must have written one for you. And where’s that retainer he gave to you? Do you even have a single kopek of it?”
Dumbfound, I shrug my shoulders and sigh.
“A man as worldly as you seem to be… Don’t you know there are other worlds passing transverse across our world? These heavy elements, water and earth are mere illusions, empty and void, or nearly so. And other worlds equally void pass right thru like birds that cut the airy way. I call them gilgul* worlds in us. Someone in a gilgul world spoke to you, called you out and pulled you into his alternate sphere. Whenever that happens you can find broken edges, strange scars, odd memories, and other signs. When you cross the border your spirit is torn, normally just a little bit, tho sometimes a mind is broken and split, living in two or in many spirits; or we suffer fears we can’t understand, that have no cause in this visible world.”
* Kabbalistic term for transmigration;
“Then is God just playin’ dice with us?”
“God forbid! Random events don’t exist, but the human mind cannot perceive most of the worlds, cannot conceive the infinite causes that drive the eternal heavenly spheres. That gilgul was me calling to you, tho I had no idea who would arrive. And you had no idea who had called. When this shadow world whispers in you, it leads you on and you can’t resist.”
“Now, let’s just say I believe all of that, which makes this world hardly other than a dream. Let’s just suppose there’s sense in that. Then how were you callin’ and what do you want?”
“Yes, let’s just suppose I was calling you out, and you are now answering my call — neither of which can be called a fact, but both of which are built on facts — I’m hearing the call of the Lor in me, along with my partner, dayan* Yom Tov, words and thoughts that many might find objectionable, even blasphemous, and yet those words want to be spoken, shadow words from Shaddai** worlds. And here you are with a scroll in your arms, and ink and quill and writing skills, like a merman out of a river you come. Now, don’t you think there’s a cause in that?”
* Hebrew: judge; ** one of the names of God;
*** Jewish law; literally, ‘the way to walk/behave’
“So, you were askin’ me this: that I write out a scroll of the voices in you that the rabbis may hate, and thus to bind my name with yours, come what may. Is this what you ask?”
“Yes, this is the true weight of my request, even tho your name isn’t on the scroll.”
“And what of this scroll that I already wrote? What of that?”
“You will be paid.”
I looks him hard in his shadowy eyes, and what I seen looks honest enough (tho maybe I’m only seeing myself): wrinkled in questions, troubles, doubts, and confidence all voicin’ themselves; and I hear the tohu and vohu worlds of the Lor’s creatin’ His infinities. And the Lor is One, *barukh Shem Kavod*, and ‘yes’ I said, ‘yes I will, yes and yes.’
*-* Hebrew: bless the Glorious Name (ie. God)
And here is a fragment of his revelations* (which I discovered many years later. It had been re-used to make the boards of a book, that book itself now fallen apart, which revealed this juicy palimpsest):
* others say: rebellations
… Of Avigdor Kara, judge of Prague, written with the help of Yom Tov Muehlhausen:
The Philistine Pillars Now Cast Down.
This, a chapter in the larger work:
Book of Auguries and Awakenings,
This a Critique of the Holy Words,
Their Pagan Shrines* and Moral Flaws
* others say: schries
But the world weren’t ready for his cuttin’ words, so most been absorbed back into the spheres* that precipitated them into his mind. Which is to say, the book I scribed was confiscated by Inquisitors. Maybe they burnt the manuscript, or maybe it sits in some Vatican vault.
* others say: fears
In the next episode, the remnants of his lost book.
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.
Related Topics
Related Posts