Mordekai approaches his eyes to the open book until he crushes his nose against it: 

“What on earth is written here? The ink has run. I cannot distinguish well the last word. ‘And he called the darkness…”

Elijah hurries to help:

“Let’s see. Let me see …”

He pushes Mordekai to make room for himself, but Mordekai resists him.

“Back off, bobkes!” , Elijah suddenly exclaims, “How do you want me to look if you don’t back off?!”

Mordekai backs off, and Elijah takes out a huge magnifying glass with which he examines the dim word carefully. Suddenly, he stands straight and exclaims:

“Porpoise! It says ‘porpoise’! Poter nu (No doubt)”

But Evrom is skeptical:

“‘And he called the darkness porpoise?’ That makes no sense.”

“Maybe it does, but it’s such a dark quote!”, Chatzkel observes.

“Neyn! It says light”, says Mordekai who has been examining the text again with his nose crushed against the page. “Doesn’t say anything about porpoises.”

“‘And he called the darkness light?’ That makes even less sense.”

“Perhaps it refers to the upper darkness.” Feivel stresses.

“I insist: it says ‘porpoise’!”

“But let’s check out!”, Evrom exclaims, “Who is the one among us who can read?”

“Mordekai”, someone answers.

“Well, so let it be he who guesses what it says here!”

“And who owns the book?”, Elijah jumps.

“You. But that is not a talmudic logical argument that makes you right.”

But Elijah insists:

 “I don’t know how to read, but I can guess as much as Mordekai. And I tell you that here it says porpoise!”

“Oh yeah? And how do you interpret the quote? ‘And he called the darkness porpoise’? That’s ridiculous!”

“It is a very dark passage.” Chatzkel says, conciliatory. “Maybe if you put the oil lamp a little closer, you would see it clearer.” 

Feivel sets the lamp closer to the book, but Mordekai pushes him aside: “Get off the book! You’re gonna burn it!”

Then someone knocks on the door.

“Someone’s at the door.”

“Perhaps it’s the prophet Elias who comes to interpret the passage” Chatzkel suggests.

Evrom gets up from the chair to open the door:

“Who can that be at this time of night?”

“Night!!”, Mordekai exclaims. “That’s it! It fits the context!” And he rereads aloud the phrase from the book: “This lower darkness is called night in the verse: ‘And he called the darkness night’!”

Everyone suddenly gets up and dances with their arms raised while exclaiming “Hallelujah”. Then Evrom returns accompanied by Dudel’s wife, who is shouting: “But what the hell are you doing at the town hall at this time of night?!”

“Golda, we are studying Kabbalah!” his husband explains without stopping to dance. But she grabs him by the ear and both leave, one still shouting and the other complaining: “Oy, oy, my ear! Vey iz mir (woe is me)”

“Golda is right”, Evrom sentences, “It’s really late now. It’s time to go.”

It’s a blind night out, and it’s bone-chilling cold. Elijah carries the book under his arm and talks alone: “I keep saying it says ‘porpoise’.”

This is a non-profit blog whose purpose is to raise funds for children in need. So if you want to make a donation in exchange for this story, click on this link to UNICEF. I really appreciate it!

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