What is new up there, holy moon?

In Volinia, nel periodo che precede Passover (la Pasqua ebraica).

Even though it was just before Passover, a time when Jews have more troubles than hair on their heads, the magician’s coming caused a gret stir in town.

Inizia così un altro dei meravigliosi racconti riuniti da Isaac Leib Peretz nel libro “The seven good years”. Lo scrittore dipinge un mondo di tanto tempo fa ma, come  afferma Hester Hautzig, bello e vero e valido in ogni tempo.

La Volinia comprende le regioni storiche dell’ Ucraina occidentale ed è uno dei più antichi insediamenti slavi d’ Europa. Dalla caduta dell’ Unione Sovietica, la Volinia fa parte dell’ Ucraina indipendente.

Il mago provoca grande stupore tra gli abitanti del villaggio quando, ad esempio, toglie lunghi nastri colorati dalla bocca o tira fuori dai suoi stivali sedici grossi tacchini. Nessuno, però, sa che si tratta di quel burlone del profeta Elia travestito, questa volta, da mago. Rimangono stupefatti quando il mago gratta via monete d’ oro dalla suola degli stivali e si chiedono come mai nonostante questo sia così povero.

All over town people joked: “A fifth question will have to be added to the four we’ ll ask at the Passover Seder!”

From the top of his boots the magician pulled out sixteen live turkeys and what turkeys they were! Big as bears!

Ma ecco che, dalla folla, la scena si restringe a una poverissima coppia, Chaim-Yonah e Rivkah-Beilah. Hanno venduto tutto, anche le lampade e i cuscini. Rivka suggerisce al marito di chiedere un prestito alla comunità per comprare la farina necessaria a preparare le matzos ma Chaim risponde di avere fiducia nell’ Altissimo.

Rivka-Beilah again searched in each corner, nook, and cranny for something to sell. She found an old, worn silver spoon that had been lost for years. A miracle from above!

Chaim-Yohah sold the spoon and gave the money to the community fund to help the poor. “Their need is greater than ours,” he said.

E arriva il giorno di Passover. Rivkah-Beilah nasconde i singhiozzi nel suo scialle.

Just their door opened. Someone came in and said, “A happy holiday”.

“A happy year,” they answered, not seeing who had entered.

“I want to be a guest at your Seder,” the visitor said.

“We do not have a Seder for ourselves,” replied Chaim-Yonah.

“I brought everything  for the Seder with me,” the guest said.

L’ ospite è il mago.  Subito due candelabri d’ argento scendono dall’ alto con le candele accese. Una tovaglia ricopre il tavolo e compaiono il piatto per il Seder con tutti i cibi e anche sedili e bianchi cuscini. Non racconto null’ altro di questa favola, solo trattengo per me un’ultima scenetta.

Decanters of wine, red goblets, matzos, and all else needed for a kosher and joyous Seder appeared as well.

“Go, my husband, and ask the rabbi,” she advised.

“I cannot leave you alone with the magician,” replied Chaim-Yonah. “You go to the rabbi.”

“The rabbi is not going to believe me. He will think me a foolish woman, or perhaps even crazy”.

So both of them went to see the rabbi, ad left the magician alone at the Seder table.

In “Revealed: or the story of the goat who couldn’t say no” Reb Nachumka racconta la storia della capra che mangiava solo l’ erba cresciuta tra le rovine dove una volta i pii ebrei avevano pregato. Le sue corna crescevano lunghissime e la capra cercava di tenerle nascoste arrotolandole.

“But in the middle of the night, when the town was asleep and pious Jews went to the Bet Medrash to say midnight prayers and sing plaintive hymns of Jerusalem, then the goat was filled with enormous longing. He stood on his hind legs, unwound his horns, and reached up, up, up…right into the sky. If there was a new moon, he threw the tips of his horns over the moon’s lower and asked, ‘What is new up there, holy moon? Isn’t it time for Messiah to come?’’

The moon repeated the question to the stars and the stars trembled and stopped in their path. The night grew still, it ceased its singing.

“The goat, the owner of the wondrous horns, went out in the middle of the night when the town was asleep and when quiet cries over the fate of the Jews were head from the Bet Medrash. He got upon his hinds legs, unwound his horns, and hooked them into the Milky Way to take hold of a precious jewel.

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Isaac Leiv Peretz, The seven good years and other stories

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