Sabtu, 07 April 2012

The Exterminating Angel of Passaich / Bet on Crazy

Jewish holidays tend to roam the the calender like gaunt Indian cows on the streets of New Delhi. Last year Passover was on April 18-26 and in 2010 Passaich started on March 30. This weekend marks the beginning of the solemn holiday for the chosen people and yesterday after finishing work on a small film, I went uptown to visit Manny on 47th Street. His son Richie Boy greeted me with a hug and I congratulated him on the birth of twins. "When you going home?""Ask the old man." Richie Boy shrugged with resignation to his fate. "Manny, it's Passover and Good Friday." Most of the booths were already closed in the Diamond District, but my former boss was staying to the bitter end of the day. The only people on the street were commuters hurrying home."When you pay my rent, then you can tell me what time I close my business." His desk was cluttered with the usual piles of paperwork. In all the years I had worked for Manny, the pyramid of papers rose and fell without ever disappearing in entirety. "Manny, close now and I'll buy you a martini." "I'm busy." The octogenarian was devoted to his business. It was his home away from home. "Manny thinks he might make another sale." His son shook his head and signaled his two employee to pack up the merchandise."That's it. We're going home."This decision started a fight and I went outside to wait for Richie Boy."Damien, you have something to give for Passiach?" Lenny the bum shambled up to the window. His face was shining with sweat. Strands of hair were plastered across his balding skull. It was cool, but he was dressed in his usual attire of a tee shirt and shabby trousers. "For you, I always have something." I dug into my pocket for a dollar. "Where are you celebrating Passaich?""I'm on the street working the parade." Lenny was like Manny. Both of them were workoholics. "I have to earn money to take care of my sister.""You're a good brother, Lenny." "Plus I don't really celebrate Passaich." Lenny didn't look healthy, but he had disproven many rumors of his demise."Why not?" Lenny was no atheist."What does Passaich celebrate?" Lenny leaned over to whisper what he had to say, as if it were a secret. "Passover commemorates when the angel of god passed over the Jewish houses in Egypt." The nuns had taught me my Old Testament. They had blamed the Jews for killing Jesus. "You know I saw THE TEN COMMANDMENTS at the South Shore Drive-In. A drunk teenager threw a rock at our station wagon. My father chased him into the brush. He came back red in the face.""It was a good movie, but Charlton Heston was no Jew and Passaich celebrates the freeing of the Hebrews from bondage in Egypt." Lenny closed his eyes and rocked back and forth on his heels."The ten plagues.""With the last being the death of the first-born of all Egyptian humans and animals. Yahweh instructed the Hebrews to sprinkle lamb's blood on this doors so his spirit would skip their houses in his search for the first-born males of the Egyptians."

"You know I was taught that god was all-knowing and all-seeing, so why couldn't he see which houses were Jewish?"

"Damien, Yahweh moves in strange ways." Lenny accepted some profane thought, but he glared at my apostasy."Yes, here you have this god." Most people think the killer of the male first-borns was an angel. "Super powerful Yahweh blundering through the night killing young boys. Do you think there was any collateral damage like how our smart bombs hit schools in Afghanistan?"

"How should I know? I wasn't there, but enough of this narishkait, because your foolishness is in line with my thinking. Passaich is a celebration of death. Death of the guilty, but also the innocent. This I can not celebrate. Freedom, yes. Extermination,no."Several people had gathered around our discussion and a religious diamond dealer angrily demanded of Lenny, "You really think Yahweh was a murderer?""It wasn't the first time." Lenny didn't like this attention. He depended on the kindness of this street to support his sister."Actually I think that the second-sons of Egypt plotted to kill all the first-borns to destroy the rules of primogeniture and then blamed the Hebrews." I was talking nonsense to take the flak aimed at Lenny."Primogeniture?" The diamond dealer had a yeshiva education. "Primogeniture is where the first born inherits everything from the father. Like Cain and Abel."

"Cain killed Abel." Lenny nodded in agreement.

"The second son plot."

"Es iz nit geshtoygen un nit gefloygen." The diamond dealer muttered in Yiddish."What's that mean?" My Yiddish was rusty after a year of not working on the street.

"It never rose and it never flew." Lenny smiled with the pleasure of translating Yiddish. He was a vanishing breed." In plain speaking 'bullshit'."

"It's not foolishness." I protested with the fervor of a devotee to the untruth. "The only logical explanation of passover is that the Egyptians killed the first borns."

"It was God." The diamond dealer spoke with words with conviction. "And his killing angel."

"Isn't that the same name they called Josef Mengele?"

"Even worse. A pox on your head." The diamond dealer spat the words. Lenny shambled after him for a dollar.This day ended late."What was that all about?" Richie Boy exited from the exchange."The origins of Passsaich." "Who knows what Passaich really was? It was over 3000 years ago. I can barely remember what I had to eat for lunch."

"Me neither." I was lying. We had eaten Chinese take-out on the shootRichie Boy and I headed to the subway. He believed in life.It was something no angel could take away today.

Tidak ada komentar:

Posting Komentar