Stephen Berer
Stephen Berer
the Eternal Jew's biographer

The Eternal Jew’s Tale, #14, Headin’ back west

In this scene 300 years have transpired and the Eternal Jew finds himself in Alexandria, Egypt. And now he starts recording his story in more detail, as he begins to grasp the impact of the Jewish presence on the saga of nations, and the impact of the nations on the Jewish saga.

The Eternal Jew’s Tale
Sixth Era, Part 1. ~700 C.E., headin’ back west

Like the desperate women and the naked children and the boot lickers and the wheelers and dealers that follow an army train, I got swept along in the storm of these Meccans surgin’ east and west. Lookin’ back I seen my Sura recovered from the ravage and flame almost like it never happened. And the new kings, which they call caliphs, are sometimes even upright and fair.

But me, I’m on the road again, facin’ west. Like dust blown in a parched sirocco, maybe stirred up by old Samael, that evil gust, I gets blown through the Eretz* again, But now they calls it Falleshtene or Palestine. Stripped our land and now our name. But me, I just can’t get a grip in the wicked wind and the whip of war, and I’m blown right past into Egypt land.
Hebrew for land; ‘the Eretz’: Israel

Egypt. Our Lor forbids us to return to her many gods and plagues, her onions and fish and eternal doom. Never again will she rise from the muck. Up to their bellies in slurry and silt, oxen and people under the yoke can hardly move, but despite our Lor, many a Jew has made it their home.

And there like a leaf when the gusts fade, down Alexandria’s promenade I skitter along and finally stop. Long ago I once was here in the golden age, in that evil age, when Rome was burnin’ out God from the land and a remnant of merchants and tradesmen fled the Eretz, here they come and thrived.

But now they live here only as ghosts, specters and shadows that flit about in corners and doorways and the wild vines that grow out of cracks and choke the ruins. And me alone, still in a body.

Yea, now the ages of our sufferings began.

Jerusalem! There she lounges among the hawthorns and foggy hills. Like my Naomi bound to my soul, she beckons her lover, Israel.

Strange attractor! Her place defined by trails and tales of poets and kings, of prophets and liars and fools and sages who come here to plant their flag and their name. Them as uproot the vines we plant, burn down our houses, defile our graves. In short they would strip our soul from the land, a soul that the Lor has planted Himself.

So hack they will, and bleed we do. And all that struggle sharper defines the single equation and its many paths around this strange attractor, Jerusalem.

Alas, for awhile, farewell my love.
Now, wherever I and my people turn, from Andalusia to Khorasan, we live beneath the sharpened sword subject to the lies and hate and greed of rulers, clerics, inquisitors, mobs.

These, the years of our rebukes.

Seventh Era, Part 1. ~1000 C.E., Alexandria

In Egypt land, so strange, I find all the Pharaoh gods are dead, and Adonai is the ruler here, over Kubti* and Muslim, and a few remaining Jews. Now the Muslim tramples the sands to leave his mark on the head and the hand, usurping palace and church alike to elevate his myth to the mouth of God.
* Arabic term that morphs into “Copt”

Me, I seen the way they works: with sword and tax and law they come. And mostly their talk is as honest as any conquerin’ empire I’ve come across. And inclined as I am to Shemaya’s word,* to keep my distance from government, I moves on out to Alexandria, to make a life and plan my days.
* Pirkei Avot, Perek 1, Mishna 10: Love work, hate public office, and do not seek to become intimate with authorities

Perhaps til now I had always been blind. In the old days I was just another guy, but sudden it seems, wherever I trek people sees me with hooks in their eyes, like to tear out my tongue or flay my skin.

No doubt, Paul has taken his toll, and Matthew too. Then there’s Augustine collectin’ the angers compiled before and generalizin’ it to the ends of time. And now Muhammed stretches it more, praisin’ our Prophets as descendin’ from God but descendin’ us people from monkeys and pigs.

Funny, but a thousand years later we seen there’s monkey in everyone’s distant past. But Muhammed don’t say it like that’s what he means, and his followers use it to hate us Jews.

So now there’s Gospels, Epistles and Korans, and plenty of commentary comin’ from that, built on the myths that we spun from our Lor. We set it in motion, and it *rolls us on.*
*-* others say: rolls on us

~~~~~~~~~~
In the next episode our hero remembers a parable of a king who decides to get married.

About the Author
I am a writer, educator, artist, and artisan with an awe of The Eternal and an unbounded love of Judaism that shapes everything I think and do. 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: http://steveberer.com/work-in-progress. In the process of reconstructing lives, I also reconstruct English, in an effort to achieve heightened and multi-dimensional perspectives. I have recorded some brief thoughts about this philological journey in a series of essays entitled "Essential Notes on Linguistics." You can read these on my website or at Academia. My creative life also includes arts and crafts. For example, my older son and I are working on an illuminated Megillat Esther. Finally, and in many ways most importantly, I currently live with my bashert just outside Washington, DC, and have two remarkable sons, the three of whom light my life.
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