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The Golden Mountain, by Meyer Levin, [1932], at

p. 132



The Enemy did not forswear the battle, but came 1 out openly and spread his iron wings between the earth and heaven. The wings were as thick as a mountain is high, and all through they were made of heavy iron. He wrapped his wings around the earth as he would enclose it within the two cups of his hand.

On earth, all was darkness. The wings of the Enemy pressed forever closer to the earth, and crushed the spirits of men.


When Rabbi Israel was about to enter into a synagogue, he stopped outside the door and said, "I cannot go in there. There is no room for me to enter."

But the chassidim said, "There are not many people in the synagogue."

"The house is filled from the ground to the roof with prayers!" said the Master.

But as he saw the chassidim taking pride because of his words, he said, "Those prayers are all dead prayers. They have no strength to fly to heaven. They are crushed, they lie one on top of the other, the house is filled with them."

And he returned to Medzibuz.

He felt the weight of the wings of the Enemy pressing ever closer upon him. He sought for a way to pierce that iron cloud, and make a path to Heaven.

p. 133

Not far from Medzibuz there lived a Jewish herdsman. This man had an only son, the boy was twelve years old but so slow-witted that he could not remember the alphabet. For several years the Jew had sent his son to the cheder, but as the boy could not remember anything, the father ceased to send him to the school, and instead sent him into the fields to mind the cows.

The boy took a reed and made himself a flute, and sat all day long in the grass, playing upon his flute.

But when the boy reached his thirteenth birthday, his father said, "After all, he must be taught some shred of Jewishness." So he said to the lad, "Come, we will go to the synagogue for the holidays."

He got in his wagon, and drove his son to Medzibuz, and bought him a cap and new shoes. And all that time, David carried his flute in his pocket.

His father took him to the synagogue of Rabbi Israel.

They sat together among the other men. The boy was very still.

Then the moment came for the prayer of mussaf to be said. David saw the men all about him raise their little books, and read out of them in praying, singing voices. He saw his father do as the other men did. Then David pulled at his father's arm.

"Father," he said, "I too want to sing. I have my flute in my pocket. I'll take it out, and sing."

But his father caught his hand. "Be still!" he whispered. "Do you want to make the Rabbi angry? Be still!"

David sat quietly on the bench.

Until the prayer of mincha, he did not move. But

p. 134

when the men arose to repeat the mincha prayer, the boy also arose. "Father," he said, "I too want to sing!"

His father whispered quickly, "Where have you got your fife?"

"Here in my pocket."

"Let me see it."

David drew out his fife, and showed it to his father. His father seized it out of his hand. "Let me hold it for you," he said.

David wanted to cry, but was afraid, and remained still.

At last came the prayer of neilah. The candles burned trembling in the evening wind, and the hearts of the worshippers trembled as the flames of the candles. All through the house was the warmth of holiness, and the stillness as before the Presence. Then the outspread palms of the Rabbi were raised over them, and the words of the eighteen benedictions were spoken.

The boy could hold back his desire no longer. He seized the flute from his father's hand, set it to his mouth, and began to play his music.

A silence of terror fell upon the congregation. Aghast, they looked upon the boy; their backs cringed, as if they waited instantly for the walls to fall upon them.

But a flood of joy came over the countenance of Rabbi Israel. He raised his spread palms over the boy David.

"The cloud is pierced and broken!" cried the Master of the Name, "and evil is scattered from over the face of the earth!"

Next: The Wandering in Heaven