“Stop!”, Evron exclaims, and Mordekai stop reading and runs away to play with Evron’s children. (This time, the meeting is not held at the town hall but at Evron’s house.) “Ah, this is very profound, indeed. So profound that if it were a deep well and we threw a stone in it, we wouldn’t hear its collision with the water.”

Everyone stares at him, stunned.

“Why do you look at me that way? It has been said: You look like a meshugener (mad man) feeding a lamb.”

Suddenly, Pesha, Evrom’s wife, is heard shouting: “Evrom! Evrom! ”

Evron jumps from his seat like a flunkey: “What happens, daughter of Judah? Peace be with you!” And rushes out of the room.

Chelm elders start whispering:

“What’s the matter with Evrom? He speaks in a weird way. It seems he has been infected by Kabbalah’s style.”

“Kabbalah has gone straight to his head!”

“Oy gevalt! He’s drunk with Kabbalah!” 

“Maybe he is becoming a kabbalist! A Yiddisher kabbalist!”

“Maybe he’s becoming a knucklehead. A Yiddish knucklehead!”, Elijah paraphrases.

From the adjoining room come the screams of a very disturbed woman followed by the sound of slaps and Evron’s complaints. The elders are paralyzed with eyes popping out of their heads. After a few moments, Evron bursts in the room where they are gathered. He is very upset and his cheeks are red because of the slaps. He raises his arms and exclaims: “Oy vey! Nothing quiet on the home front! We’ve got tsores! (big trouble).”

“It seems that he has suddenly healed”, Dovid observes.

Evron continues: “Dudel, your wife is a yente! (scandalmonger). She has tattled to my wife about the cemetery incident and has put into her head a strange idea. Oy vey, here she comes!”

Suddenly, an obese woman with angry face bursts into the room. 

The elders shrink and make a frightened face.

“Who of you was in the cemetery? Answer!”

Fishel, Dovid and Elijah raise one hand shyly.

“Is it true that you saw my father?”

Astonished, Dovid answers: “Your father, Pesha? Isn’t he dead?”

“Yes, he is. But apparently he walks through the cemetery at night!”

A stir arises.

Now she faces Dudel: “Your wife just told me!”

Evron blurts out: “But how the hell does Golda know that the ghost was your father? All the ghosts look alike.”

A greater stir arises.

“Did you see a ghost at the cemetery?!” Dudel shouts, stunned. 

“You liars!”, Chatzkel adds, “You said nothing had happened!”

“It was no big deal: just a white figure that moved between the graves. Nothing to write home.”

Pesha takes the floor: “Listen to me well. Tomorrow night you are gonna go back to the cemetery. All of you. If there is a soul in sorrow, it must be rescued. Surely that Kabbalah of yours has got some conjuration for these cases. And as elders of the town, the responsibility is yours. Is that clear?”

Shyly, Feivel raises his hand: “Excuse me, tomorrow night I have an appointment with my hairdresser to curl my peyes (sidelocks).”

“If you don’t go to the cemetery tomorrow night, I’ll cut your peyes myself!”

That said, Pesha returns to the other room, leaving the elders with their eyes bulging and the most ghastly pallor. After a long silence, one of them dares to say: “Instead of the Zohar, we should have read The ‘Jewish Daily Forward’.”

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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