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It was in the darkest of nights, also commonly known as

The Book of Matthias

Annotated and presented by

Mendel M. Emlea - Meirson


It is with joy and trepidation that I put on the contemporary reader's desk this new edition of an ageless work. It is my belief and hope that this edition will serve both the student and the reader in furthering the study, enjoyment and elaboration of the mythical story of Matthias's Night, whose relevance only rises against the dying silences and the growing noises of our times. I pray that the amendments that I have added to the body of notes will add to the radiance of the Tale of the Dark Night, like the unified light of the crystal that is enhanced by the multiple scattering of its aura.

nightly songs of laughter and obscenity, from the plain readers for whom Matthias was and is a silent and simple soul-companion to those scholars who build ant nests on the interpretation of a contemporary footnote – from them all and all that lies in-between, never, never had anyone had the shadow of thought even to consider the idea that we have here an account of a bad night. The darkest night, yes, the deepest night, the happiest, the saddest, or just sad, good, funny, strange, obscure etc. but never is it designated as bad. The fresh theory of Ponstil that this Amsterdam print was of utter importance and lay in front of the translators and editors who prepared the Canonized edition of 1937 is thus ridiculous, and in view of the amazing depths that are amassed in its wor(l)ds, it may be called heretical. Would that we could ask the Editors of the Canonized English edition, but as we know, during the frightful years of destruction, they all have disappeared into thin air, and our only way to advance is to continue breathing.

Preface by the Editor

In this introduction I will point out to the reader the improvements that I have had the privilege to add to this edition, but first wish to clear the table and say some words on a frightening trend that risks to cast a poisonous shadow on the message of "It was in the Darkest of Nights...". Thanks to a grant from the Circle of the Friends of Matthias, I have had the opportunity to study thoroughly the newly discovered unannotated undated Dutch print, which, as it seems, had belonged to an Avrum Maatjes from Amsterdam. Notwithstanding the sensation this discovery has caused, fueled by the papers and even several quite respectable literary magazines, it may be established as a fact that the Amsterdam print is a fraud. It is enough to read the first words: 'It was on this very bad night, that M. woke up and felt thir[s]ty', to be assured about the utter incompatibility between the soliloquish account of a bad night from Amsterdam and the sublime Matthias. Although the Amsterdam text quite literally follows, sometimes word by word, most of the conventions proper and characteristic to the language of the original Matthias, any serious insight will reveal their irreconcilability. For let it be clear; throughout its history and unconnected to the position the translators or commentators have taken regarding the sense of the message, their understanding of the story, the interpretation of the effects and consequences of Matthias's insomnia or their appreciation of the style and form of the narrative; from the Apollonians for whom Matthias represents the Feared Other, the threat to Salvation through Slumber to the Dyonisians who associate Matthias to the Rebellious Prometheus, from the Mystics who spent nights and lifetimes to unravel a fragment of one of the sentences of their sacred scripts to the clowns and Purim-shpilers who have freely kicked out the words and wisdom of Matthias's night and transposed them in their own

For the preparation of this volume, I had in front of my eyes the known canonized English text of 'In the Darkest of Nights' and most of the 613 manuscripts and printed versions which did lie in front of the translators and editors of the Canonized version. Around half of that amount are in Yiddish (308). Half of the remaining part: Aramaic and Biblical Hebrew (154) and the rest are in the major languages, like French (14), English (17), Spanish (31), Turkish (2), Modern Hebrew (4), Dutch (12), Finish (5), Russian (17) and thirteen other languages. All the manuscripts are undated, and many of the prints are in a dilapidated state, which renders impossible the establishment of any clear pattern of precedence and derivation between the different texts. Even the layman can grasp the awesome task that the now anonymous and disappeared Editors and Translators took upon their gigantic shoulders, in setting out to produce the Canonized English Version of 1937. After my thorough study, I can bear witness that I have seen no reason to change even one iota of the Canonized English text, and reproduce it here integrally. I modestly add my stone to their edifice in presenting two newly discovered manuscripts: the Parma manuscript which is in Yiddish (so called because it is written on Parma-colored paper, which is redolent of orange scent) and the undated and very fragmented Worms ms. which is mainly in Greek and smells of old paper. (It is my obligation to thank Cardinal Monsonego of the


Vatican for permitting me to consult those precious copies that previously had probably belonged to one of my kin). I have obviously noted the minor discrepancies between those mss. and the Canonized English edition; the fact that those discrepancies are minor is again high evidence of the matchless thoroughness of the Editors of the 1937 Edition. It is in the body of notes that the reader will find innovation. Besides the now classical Yitschaki exegesis which was popular even before its appearance in the Canonized Edition, the reader will find a whole new corpus of references and notes, that are brought to print for the first time. Those precious notes stem from little paper scraps and handwritten asides that were found between and on the pages of volumes that belonged to such scholars as Stanzman, Kilke, Schreiber, Asharav. Some are also notes of oral utterances from such original contemporary thinkers as Stanzmann and Finkeltryb. This innovation, I hope, will prove fruitful in furthering the understanding of Matthias's teaching. The sources of the notes are conveniently mentioned in rounded brackets at the end of the note. If there is no bracketed name, you can take it as a rule that the note was found as a written aside in an anonymous copy of Matthias. In the notes I have also added references both to newly discovered and to freshly published sources, and have thus enlarged the web of thought which, since Matthias's first appearance onward, has spun its opaque threads around the clarification of the message. From times immemorial it is known that the obvious aim of every commentator (and the sometimes forgotten wish of every annotator) is to help the interested mind in ruffling the veils of interpretations, so as to enable the reader to reach the perennial message which lies hidden under the word. In the words of Jalal-uddin Rumi: 'Clever opinions are given, so that the reader may sell them to bewilderment and buy intuition'. Like Jacob who gave [t]his shirt to his son, so that it may be ripped apart, to reveal bareness and invite royalty. Another innovation in regard to the 1937 Edition is the little star (*) which I have added in the footnotes to mark the references and sources that I could locate and verify; an unmarked citation or source indicates thus solely that the present editor was unable yet to locate or verify it. I hope that,

with the help of readers and colleagues, the next edition will be starry all over. Concerning the graphic presentation, I have refrained from disturbances and imaginationreducing adornments such as illustrations and drawings. The design of a sober frame around the Matthias-narrative, an original typeset for its first three sentences, (which have always been of different stature, as is evident from the fact that no external interpreter has ever dared to directly annotate them), those are the only external embellishments to a message whose only compromise with time was to turn from an oral into a written account. Another difference from the Canonized Edition is the enlargement of the traditional fonts. I have done this to suit the contemporary reader's eyesight, which seems less competitive than the reader of the bygone generation in deciphering the hidden treasures that lie in or under a word which is less big than a Coca-cola-sign. Only those fragments that from the early Scribes on have been traditionally transmitted in super-small script with the evident wish of creating a whispering text, have obviously remained unmagnified. I hope that it will not sound preposterous to beg the reader not to avert his or her eyes from those tiny letters. A generation that adores puppies and molecules should not disdain to ponder upon small letters. I do not believe that there is a need to indulge more in presenting the improvements to be found between the covers of the present edition; the sharp of mind will have perceived them swiftly after only an appreciative glance through the pages, and the others should already have been persuaded by now. My own wish is that I may live to edit the complete Books, and that my work, prior to being judged, will be received as an offering. To the reader I wish much strength and enlightenment in pondering upon this perennial text, this ever scattered mirror of our manhood, and hope that this new edition will invite fresh thought and dialogue from men and women alike on the fate of our nights and days. May it be a blessed step towards a better future. Lo, Thaiti, 1995 Mendel M. Emlea-Meirson


It was in the darkest of nights, that Matthias, unsettled as he was, discovered the meaning and the function of the light bulb. It evidently changed his life, but more important, it changed the way light was to be viewed.


It is told: In the middle of Feeling thirst that night Matthias woke etc. Said up1, feeling thirst, as it is Sebastian: In said: 'It was thirst that itself this was awakened me2'. already an unuseful3 feeling (and afterwards when Matthias thought about it, he realized that he could have seen it as an omen to remain in bed). But then again, the fact that he woke up, and actually chose to arise from bed, should have been read as a prediction that something of great importance was to happen (if the three kings4 would have turned their heads to the other side when they woke up in the middle of the night, would they have seen the star?) so that even if he would have read and interpreted all the signs at the time of their appearance, (which, it should be mentioned, Matthias was the first to agree that he had not - Matthias in opposition to Samuel would never have said a thing like "I am the Seer5", he just wouldn't which explains the saying "A wise man, Matthias in his nights6", meaning Matthias in his nights, unlike Samuel in his days,) then too, his comprehension would not have led him to any other course of action than the one he inadvertently7 chose.

When Matthias woke up to his thought of thirst, he decided to go to the bathroom in order to fill himself a glass of water. The glass8, Matthias conjectured, he would take while passing through the kitchen on the way to the source9.

Said89 Rabba: 'while passing through the kitchen on the way to the source' teaches: when on the road to wisdom, give thought to the requirements of the body in passing10. Manger said: 'passing through the kitchen on the way to the source', from here we can infer: if you hope to make love to a woman11, first invite her for dinner. The Sages questioned: why did Matthias decide to fill his cup in the bathroom, and not in the kitchen? Answered Rabba: to teach you 'quest for wisdom at the fullest of the source'12 Manger reacted and frowned accordingly and said: do you believe it is courteous to have intercourse with a woman during dinner? Said Calambides: sometimes I do. Said Manger: I do too, but Matthias's ways transcend exceptions13.

do not read foot notes until you stand firm on the text -- for you might remain with cold feet ..would you then suffer to smile or think???

do not read foot notes until you stand firm on the text -- for you might remain with cold feet ..would you then suffer to smile or think???

1Probably a reference to the *Book of Esther 6:1: ‫בלילה‬ ‫[ ההוא נדדה שנת המלך‬On that night the king’s sleep was wandering] (Stanzmann) [The little star * in front of a reference

means that the editor was able to locate and/or verify the source. Read the Introduction by the Editor.] 2One might compare with *'The Vampire Lestat', by Anne Rice (Asharav) 3Ms. Parma reads 'unusual' which should be preferred. (Emlea-Meirson) 4the three kings: some say this refers to the three angelic men who came to see Abraham, others say that this is a reference to the kings who visited Jesus. According to the latter the star refers to the guiding star that showed them the way; according to the first, the star refers to Abraham himself (Yitschaki) 5 ‫* אנכי הרואה‬Samuel-Shmuel I, 9:19. (Yitschaki) 6 ‫( חכם בלילה היה מתיאס‬E-M) 7Inadvertently is to be understood as lacking full conscientious decision-making. (Yitschaki)

8Ms. Parma reads receptacle, which should be preferred (Yitschaki) 9As it is written ‫ונוזלים מתוך בארך‬... ‫* שתה‬MishliProverbs 5:15 [drink…liquid from the source] (Ramah) 10The Readers propose different readings of Rabba's teaching. Some understand it as a request to give a passing thought to the physical while on the quest for knowledge, and they connect this to the verse: ‫כל עצמותי‬ ,‫( תאמרנה יהוה מי כמוך‬All my bones shall quest: who's like yhouh? *Psalms-Tehilim 35:10). Others read Rabba as proposing to consider the passing attribute of the body, in order to reach interest for the perennial character of wisdom, as it is said: *,‫( ואנוכי עפר ואפר‬And I'm only dust and ashes). (Farber) 11Ms. Parma reads: hope to join in love the love of a woman, (which seems to be an ancient euphemism for sexual intercourse according to Lustigmacher; the Mystics extrapolate on the matter). (Singerman) 12the bathroom being the place for impregnating oneself in water, it seems the place par excellence to drink it. (Asharav) 13Ms. Parma reads 'expectations', which obviously is preferred by the Hedonists. (Singerman)


Matthias foresaw...his forthcoming steps. Asked the Sages: what did he see? He foresaw different stations to follow the rising14: in the dark he saw how he opened with his left hand the cupboard (which opened to the left) and peered into it, and how his gaze encountered the light blue15 streaks of glasses in the dark cupboard. Said Hanina: For the moonlight entered through the window16 which too, was situated on the left17. A man of careful meditation, Matthias foresaw, sitting up in his bed, the form and content of his forthcoming steps, while his gaze fixed a secret curve which his godly sleep or awakening had sculpted into the cover.

Matthias imagined in his vision how he would take one glass with a hand that appeared airier and whiter than his own. {His vision did not indicate which glass he would choose, but he unknowingly resolved at that point to leave this to the first part of the liquid further intuition which he etc. modestly hoped he would On this we have learned: Matthias decided to leave have while standing in the water running freely front of the open while drinking out of the cupboard of receptacles, glass, so as to join the as Abraham said to Isaac: pleasure of consummation "Destiny will indicate the with 18the sound of a-bunlamb offering my son"21}. dance , as it is written : "You can draw waters with Then Matthias had a joy out of springs of foretaste of how he salvation19"; walked on to the others say: as it is written : bathroom, where he "I shall raise the cup of would fill the chosen salvations, and I'll invoke 20 glass with a stream of the name of what will be ". running water, and would consume the first part of the liquid on the very spot of the source.

do not read foot notes until you stand firm on the text -- for you might remain with cold feet ..would you then suffer to smile or think???

14In contrary to Jesus, who saw different stations before the rising (Haberfeld); the Zohar interprets the different stations as the stepping through the Sephirot, while Giladi forces the interpretation to fit recent history. See following notes. (Yitschaki) 15The Zionists have corrected into: white blue streaks. See: Prof. Giladi 1948‫[ מרד מתיתיהו ו‬Matthias's rising and 1948'] in "Anthology of Zionist Writings", Jerusalem, 1953, pp. 44-45, while the Hassidim read 'blue streaks of light in the dark cupboard', without however changing the text. (Schreiber) 16'through the window situated on the left' The Thinkers read here that the Active Intellect reached the Rational faculty through the Imaginative faculty. The Interpreters are divided if this is to be called prophecy or not. Diesendruck maintains that prophecy is a state where the Active Intellect influences the Rational faculty directly (see *Diesendruck, Z.: Maimonides' Lehre von der Prophetie' in Jewish Studies in Memory of Israel Abrahams, NY 1980, pp. 76-134), while I have shown that according to Maimonides the Imaginative faculty necessarily partakes in the attainment of prophecy. (Stanzmann) 17Situated on the left refers to the Atlantic Ocean, through which the Jewish refugees entered the country, while the moonlight reflections that reveal the emplacement of the glasses are the Members of the Yishuv. (Giladi, Op.Cit.) Mizrahi reads the passage as a definite allusion to the illegal immigration during the Ha'apala Period. (Schreiber)

do not read foot notes until you stand firm on the text -- for you might remain with cold feet ..would you then suffer to smile or think???

18See Lustigmacher: "The function of the vocal chords during orgasm and the metaphor of the rabbit" in Sexual Studies Today, IV, pp. 66. (Singerman) 19 ‫* ושאבתם מים בששון ממעיני הישועה‬Isaiah 12:2. (E-M) 20‫* כוס ישועות אשא ובשם יהוה אקרא‬Thilim-Psalms 116:13. (E-M) 21 ‫* אלוהים יראה לו השה לעולה בני‬Bereshit-Genesis 22:8. There are several possible readings of this sentence, according to intonation and punctuation: The obvious 'Destiny will indicate the lamb offering, my son', the more hidden 'Destiny will indicate: the lamb offering = my son', as well as the very hidden: Destiny will indicate the lamb, [that is] offering my son.' (Yitschaki)


Matthias saw22 that he would consume half of the amount of water in the glass on the spot of the source, refill it again, close the tap and consume another part of the freshly filled cup on the way to his bed, another amount (half of the half) while being back under his still warm blanket and some lesser amount (about two fingers) would remain in the cup next to his bed, an echo of the aforementioned ritual of abundance, a reverberation of plenitude in the realm of inertia, as closed eyelids can sometimes carry the aura of the eye. Asked the Scribes: Haven't we learned that merely two images rose in23 Matthias's mind24, as it is said: Said Caraibes: His vision was like a sheet25 in the wind, showing simultaneously do not read foot notes until you stand firm on the text -- for you might remain with cold feet ..would you then suffer to smile or think???

22saw: probably through rational deduction and not by means of vision, for the room was in utter darkness. The Raivad says that this should be considered prophetic knowledge, for "how could Matthias otherwise experience the whole of history from the scattering of the Tables to the first and second destruction of the Temple and further on" or elsewhere: "Matthias postfigures(sic) the children of Israel, who wake up in their thirst, as it is said ‫( ויזעקו אל יהוה בצער להם‬and in their sufferance they shouted out to God). Then they pass through the dry desert to reach revelation, which is like the cup of salvation, in order to reach the promised land, of which is said that it is a land of flow, * ‫ארץ זבת‬ ‫חלב ודבש‬. From there they return to the Diaspora to let also closed eyelids carry the aura of the eye. Compare with the Ramah: ‫ התגלות בבחינת‬,‫הגלות היא בבחינת מיטה‬ .‫ וצריך עיון‬,‫ והכתוב הוא בבחינת כוס של ברכה‬,‫באר מים חיים‬ (Diaspora is like a bed, revelation like a source of living water, and he written word like a cup of blessing, and it needs an insight.) The Cedar Tree (‫ )אילן הארז‬proposes like Sigmund Lustigmacher, the much discussed erotic interpretation on this story. Cf. "Matthiases wet night" in Forshung, IX. The glass accordingly designates the desired or ideal woman, water stands for desire, the drinking for consummation, etc. Yung proposes a subtler interpretation of courting and sensuality in "The whisper rediscovered", Paris '92. (Fingerstein) 23Mendelsohn corrected to 'rose out of Matthias's mind', Frank to 'rose in and out of'. The Hassidim retained 'rose in', but read 'Matthias's heart', without however changing the text. The Zionist have retained the verb 'rising' and the name "Matthias", but have forgotten the person and the text. (P. Adler) 24This is a questioning on the aforementioned statements that M. saw different stations etc. (Yitschaki) 25Feuerbach, who reads the story of M. as a quest for prayer, associates the sheet to a Talith, see: "The blue lines and the airy hand: parables of prayer" in Judaism Revisited, 12-13. Koestler, in a lost note in *"The

both sides. On one side, the image of the white hand, touching the back26 of one glass with the middle finger and taking it downwards between thumb and ring-finger27. On the other side, an appearing glass that looked like the feel of water on longing lips. This image was perceived as an emotion that was a mixture of redness, wind and the eradication of a craving dryness28. Answered Berakhia: From the two images which rose, the other images spun out like transparent threads.

.do not read foot notes until you stand firm on the text.. for you might get cold feet ....would you then suffer then to smile or think....

Thirteenth Tribe", connects the image of the sheet to the flag of Matthias's tribe, which is thus the thirteenth flag. For a description of the other twelve flags, and their connection to the stones of the tribes, see the beautiful passage in *Bamidbar Rabba, 22. (Schreiber) 26Ms. Parma adds: touching the back of one glass - for that is how he always placed them in the cupboard, mouth down and bottom up, and he yet believed that he always would - with etc.. Needless to say that Lustigmacher deduces from here a sexual attraction to sodomy, while Yung understands it as an expression of a premature stage, where Matthias would look at the back, and not yet really see the face of those around him. Nahman corrects Yung and says that it is written 'touch the back', not look at the back, and Nahman thus proposes to infer from here that the eye reaches deeper that touch. An other direction of deduction is a forgotten saying of the Rabbi of Zkotsk: 'You can reach the world of the dead with touch, with sight you can reach the world of the living', which is probably inferred from here and from Saul's meeting with the deceased Samuel by means of sorcery, where Samuel appeared face down and bottom up (*Shmuel-Samuel I, Ch. 28). (S. Adler) 27Lustigmacher sees the glass as a fantasy image of the woman, which is brought down by the fingers, which according to Lustigmacher is an obvious allusion to auto-eroticism. Yung, in the aforementioned "Rediscovered Whisper", (Paris '92) elaborates that the thumb and ring finger designate respectively the sense of individual freedom and marital relationship, which should be united to take the glass down. Most serious scholars still accept the lost interpretation of Manger as most probable. (Singerman) 28The first image is traditionally referred to as 'the white image' for it has no colors other than white and the white appears in it like a virgin that walks into the night. (Mendelsohn quotes 'out of the night’.) The second image is known as 'the vision of fire', and the fire appears in it like a craving that walks out of the night. (Mendelsohn quotes 'into the night’.) (Berakhia) Varhol says that the first image was similar to a regular stop sign, but the , while the the second image was reminiscent of a Coca-Cola publicity. (Roth)


His gaze fixed a secret curve etc.: It was asked: how could he see the curve, for later we read "the darkness etc.", "in the dark", "the cover seemed29 etc." which indicate a darkness veiling perception? Said Calbass: until the doubt dropped30, the space was suffused with white moonlight31, since the doubt dropped, the space is suffused by black darkness32. Sebastian answered differently: Is it written "he saw the curve"? It is written "his gaze fixed etc.": he fixed without seeing; moreover it is written "secret", which indicates "secret even to himself". Why doesn't Calbass answer like Sebastian? Calbass would ask: If Matthias didn't see the curve, so why does the text say that his gaze fixed the curve, have we ever heard of someone fixing an object without seeing it? And "secret", Calbass would argue, should be read as read the Scribes: the curve contained secrets that Matthias was exploring. Why doesn't Sebastian read like Calbass33? Sebastian goes according to the saying: Now that water has become ice, it belongs to the barman, not to the ocean34.

do not read foot notes until you stand firm on the text -- for you might remain with cold feet ..would you then suffer to smile or think???

29'seemed' indicates that there is no actual perception. (Yitschaki) 30as it is told later. (Yitschaki) 31cfr. Moonlight in the kitchen is a sign of God, in Anne Carson’s *Glass, Irony and God, New Directions, New York 1995 (Elfnbein) 32therefore now there still was perception, while further on not. (Finkeltryb) 33which is obviously a more obvious reading. (Yitschaki) 34meaning: Matthias's life, although lived by Matthias, is now written by and for us. (Yitschaki) Now that the story has become text, the words belong to the reader, not to the narrative. (Brandes)

z Caraibes says: a doubt dropped: from where did it drop? From the curve of the blanket to the shadow which lay hidden beyond it. Columbides says: it was destiny which suddenly flipped a coin, and the flipped coin dropped. But both agree that at a precise moment35 doubt dropped itself in his visionary pond and it confused the whole spherical linearity of Matthias thoughts. Suddenly the image of the cupboard emerged {taking up Matthias's whole inner visual screen, of which it is said that it stretched over a walking distance of seven years and seven weeks}, but it appeared in an open blackness. Said Calbass: 'in an open blackness', what did he see? A deep, desolate darkness gleaming straight back into his face, a black hole filled with a howling void. Only below36, did the moonlight reveal itself on a lower level, in a forest of crisscrossing and confusing lines, as a shattered voice, as a world in the making, out of which rose a call, a chant of mourning of the damned. Calbass asked: how can a world in the making proclaim a chant of mourning? Said Ansky37: before the soul has to descend into creation, it weeps, saying: do not lead me away from perfection into a finite world. And its weeping is heard from one end of the world to the other, and all the angels and all the souls join its weeping in unison. But God remains impassive and sends the soul unto creation. Said Calbass: but we don't speak about God now. Answered Ansky: but we speak about creation now. A doubt dropped in Matthias's mind, and he foresaw an empty cupboard that would answer his gaze in utter muteness.

do not read foot notes until you stand firm on the text -- for you might remain with cold feet ..would you then suffer to smile or think???

35According to Maimon "this was the darkest moment in the darkest of night", Ravid maintains that "this is the moment of shattering which opens the way to redemption", as it is told: after Moses broke the Tables of the Law, God told him: I thank you, for through your efforts of rewriting them {Frank quotes of destroying them}, I live. (Yitschaki) 36underneath the cupboard; in the sink. (Yitschaki) 37See *An-Sky: Dos Lebn fun a Mentsh [The Life of a Man] in Gezamelte Shriftn [Collected Works] (in Yiddish) ‫ געזאַמלטע‬,‫ דאָס לעבן פֿון אַ מענטש‬,‫סקי‬-‫ אַנ‬.‫ש‬ ,‫ שריפֿטן‬Vol. 1, Warsaw 1928. (E-M)


It is told: Matthias's previous state of mind was brought, by those apocalyptic premonitions, into the realm of desolation which precedes human action38. Matthias imagined himself piercing through the dark39, traveling with his hand through stagnating waters to choose a glass. He would have to untangle it from the tohu-bohu of objects40 and disintegrating vegetation41 by feeling of hand and fingers, lift it above the standing water level and clean it. The cleaning, and the whole series of actions42 which it enclosed, were not clearly perceived by Matthias, but did add themselves to the darkness in the form of an additional opacity.

◘ Explained Schweizer: it felt as if ice cubes were traveling down both his fire channels43 without melting. Said Sebastian: now let it be clear that Matthias absorbed the extension of this difficult task, not with fright, nor disgust nor contraction. He was Matthias, not Yona44. And without the sound of a sigh he already prepared himself mentally for a different road than the one he had started to envision45. It is then that Matthias felt that his feet might grew cold, like Jesus's feet when he walked past the stations of the Via Dolorosa. But Matthias, unlike the Other, could envision (and actually feel) his cold feet without having to leave his bed. A shiver arose from between Matthias's shoulder blades and traveled down to his feet.

do not read foot notes until you stand firm on the text -- for you might remain with cold feet ..would you then suffer to smile or think???

do not read foot notes until you stand firm on the text -- for you might remain with cold feet ..would you then suffer to smile or think???

38This, the following and the preceding passage refer to the creation of the world before man. The tohu-bohu, the remnants of the previous creations and destructions, and the standing water level on which a lonely godly spirit wandered, etc. [Ravid] 39for the moon was less generous in the sink. [Yitschaki] 40objects: plates, spoons, even knives. (Yitschaki) 41disintegrating vegetation: remnants of unfinished food which tends to remain stuck on the utensils. (Yitschaki) 42reaching of soap and sponge, f.i. (Yitschaki)

43The Fire channels are the two parallel channels of energy that travel from above the eyes, over the skull, then downwards to the extremities, passing close to the spine. It is a common term in Chinese medicine. Waldman identifies the fire channels with the Cabalistic River of Fire ‫נהר דינור‬, but his explanation remains obscure. (Schreiber) 44See note 104 45The first vision, which was peaceful and spherical in its essence, although it appeared like the two-faced parokhet, was, some say, shattered, some say switched off by the second imagery of the black cupboard. The latter was induced, not by the Active Intellect, but carried its force from the power of the clash with the first vision. Matthias translated this clash that happened in the domain of his Intellect to the realm of material reality, and interpreted it as a foresight that disturbing things would stand in his way to the smooth realization of his action, and therefore decided to take precautions. It might thus be right to claim, that the whole later quest and its consequences were not destined by destiny [=Intellect Agent], but by Matthias's human traits. (Ravid)


It is asked, from where did Matthias learn the need of covering his feet? Said the Teachers: it is written: "take of your shoes from your feet, for the place you are standing on is sacred46"; from here we learn that only in the realm of the sacred one may advance without foot covering, but as Matthias understood that he would have to descend to unsacred47 activities before reaching his goal, he understood the need to cover his feet. So it was asked further: why did Matthias choose socks and not shoes to cover his feet, as it is written: "your shoes on your feet and your sticks in your hands, you should eat it in a haste48"? Several answers were proposed: some say49 that the destruction of his vision caused him to behave like those who mourn. Some say50 that he inferred it from the walk to the house of study: for getting to the house of study one receives a reward for the way, so too the road to the source must be impregnated with some sacredness; some sacredness, but not all sacredness; and that is why he chose socks, which are partly covering, and not wholly covering. Some say that it is because this was a state of twilight51. Some say52 that it was in order not to get cold feet, and people at night tend to wear socks rather then shoes when moving in the house. Those who say that it is out of mourning, were asked why he didn't also put ashes on his head; they could answer: from one sign you can deduce the other. But they would answer: he didn't fully mourn, but wanted to wear a sign of mourning: one sign and not the whole

He understood that the first requirement for reaching his goal was to equip himself with socks.

do not read foot notes until you stand firm on the text -- for you might remain with cold feet ..would you then suffer to smile or think???

‫של נעליך מעל רגליך כי המקום אשר אתה עומד עליו אדמת‬ ‫* קודש הוא‬Shemot-Exodus 3:5 (E-M) 47Ms. Parma reads earthly. (E-M) 48‫נעליכם ברגליכם ומקלכם בידכם ואכלתם אותו בחפזון‬ *Shemot-Exodus 11:11. (E-M) 49Ramah and Raivad. (E-M) 50Probably Lustigmacher. (E-M) 51That seems closest to the opinion of the Mystics and of Matthias himself. (E-M) 52This includes all the others, but mainly the Pragmatists. (E-M) 46

mourning53. Those who say it was a state of twilight, were asked: how could it be a state of twilight, isn't it written "in the darkest of nights'? They would answer: twilight of unholy to holy, and that is why he chose socks which are like the twilight between shoes and bare feet. ◙ Matthias encircled seven times54 the state of his mind and then freed his gaze from the darkness of the cover and lifted it55, suspending the direction of his gaze in the darkness which was between the above and the below56.

do not read foot notes until you stand firm on the text -- for you might remain with cold feet ..would you then suffer to smile or think???

53The factual difference between the two answers concerning the mourning, is that according to the first opinion, Matthias actually wore ashes on his head, while according to the later, he only wore socks. The text prefers the second opinion, according to the rule: Don't fill up holes that I haven't dug. (Feldheim) 54Encircled seven times, like the bride encircles the bridegroom seven times before entering under the canopy of union, which teaches us that in order to surmount despair one needs to approach it with a sense of union. (Cahan) Surmounting despair is like storming a fortified city, and Joshua’s tacticts are still to be commended. (Cohen) 55Dvir claims that he lifted the cover, Yitschaki that he lifted his gaze. Both however stress the importance of the movement of lifting. ‫עולה‬. (Giladi) 56Dvir and Yitschaki differ in their interpretation on what darkness M. rested his gaze. According to Yitschaki, the gaze gazed on the darkness of mid-air, above the cover and underneath the ceiling. According to Dvir who says that Matthias lifted the cover, his gaze was accordingly suspended on the darkness between the sheet from below and the cover from above. Matthias gaze thus rested on the darkness of himself. Lustigmacher follows the reasoning of Dvir, saying that M. fixed the darkness of his sex, on which Berakhia concurs (see later on), but Berakhia understands it as M.'s innate quest for light, while Lustigmacher sees it as an attraction to the utterness of darkness. (Giladi)


Said Rabba: Every time when you read 'He heard' it pertains to the hearing of God. Questioned Sebastian: How could Matthias hear the voice of the All, isn't it written: 'sadness covered his attention', and didn't the Sages teach: Prophecy does not reign out of grief, nor out of sadness, only out of joy? Said Rabba: Seated in sorrow on the cloud of the unknowing57. The darkness opened his ears to the night and sadness covered his attention. He heard three sounds: the humming of the refrigerator, the silence of the street sown with sounds of physical ruminations of one or some cats, and the regular fall of a drop in lower waters.

do not read foot notes until you stand firm on the text -- for you might remain with cold feet ..would you then suffer to smile or think???

57Ms. Parma reads: Answered Rabba, seated in sorrow on the cloud of the unknowing: The humming of the refrigerator etc., while in Ms. Worms this answer of Rabba is omitted. The severe discrepancy between the various versions stems probably from a lack of understanding of the sense of the text. Previous interpreters have ventured that it is an ironical remark to Sebastian, meaning that his question is due to ignorance, while interpreters of the Parma-tradition have understood it that Rabba was in sorrow due to his own inability to settle Sebastian's question. Modern studies however have added fresh insights into the matter thanks to Aldous Huxley's publication of the anthology, *"The Perennial Philosophy" (NY, 1944, Harper & Row). Accordingly, Rabba would have referred to a passage on 'sorrow' in an ancient book called *"The Cloud of the Unknown", (republished in London, 1924, with an introduction by Justin McCann and a commentary by Augustine Baker). The passage elucidates that there is one kind of sorrow which is essential to the attainment of knowledge, the sorrow of being a limited human, and thus Rabba indicates that it was this sorrow that covered Matthias attention. Here follows a short quote from The Cloud: 'All men have matter of sorrow; but most specially he feeleth matter of sorrow that knoweth and feeleth that he is. All other sorrows be but as it were game to earnest...And whoso felt never this sorrow, let him make sorrow; for he has yet never felt perfect sorrow. This sorrow, when it is had, cleanseth the soul...and also it maketh a soul able to receive that joy, which reaveth from a man all knowing and feeling of his being. This sorrow if it is truly conceived, is full of holy desire...' Rabba thus answers Sebastian that Matthias was, although probably in an utmost depressing sorrow, still in a constructive, if not even essential state to hearing the voice of the All. (EM) Asharav interprets that Rabba's utterance was only

○The humming of the refrigerator: a nervous inner pulsation - a ticking of an evenly quickening clock whose sound is muffled, like fallen snow that muffles the sound of driving cars in the night58. A sad angry passion, cottoned under the heavy weight of a white, cold and closed world with no promises. ◘The silence of the street: how could he hear it? Some say, he heard the steps of a lonely man59. Some say, he heard snow falling. Some say: he heard the moment of silence which follows the suicide60. .do not read foot notes until you stand firm on the text.. for you might get cold feet ....would you then suffer then to smile or think....

interrupted by Sebastian's question, and should be read as one unit, like this: 'Every time when you read 'He heard" it pertains to the hearing of God, [who is] seated in sorrow on the cloud of the unknowing', which would indicate that the passage "The darkness opened his ears etc." does not pertain to Matthias, but to God, who sits in sorrow above the unknowing of the world below, and hears etc. Similar exegesis is found by the Sages on the Book of Esther, see Babylonian Talmud, *Tr. Megillah 15b :‫אמר רב נחמן בר יצחק ורב וכו' מגילה טו‬. (Cahn) 58'in the night' doesn't indicate that the sound is different during night and day, but the commentator brings the image as it is described in his text. The Mystics do add importance to the mention of night. (Yitschaki) 59 Yitschaki said: He heard the steps of a lonely man: it was as if his father followed him (Cf. note 98). Cardinal Monsonego in "How Jews view Christianity", interprets the lonely man as a reference to Jesus. Compare with Leonard Cohen's song *"Susanne". Manger thought, while walking in London or Liverpool in 1942 (See 1942 ‫ לאָנדאָן‬,‫ פֿאַרלאַג אַליינעניו‬,‫*וואָלקענס איבערן דאַך‬ [Clouds above the Roof, Aleynenyou Publishing, London 1942]: "he heard the steps of a lonely man, probably his own". (Vider) 60When someone jumps from high up with the intention of killing himself for the sanctification of the holy name, God Almighty holds his breath for a moment, and it is then that his weeping for the destruction of his temple is interrupted for a moment, and silence reigns over the world (Yitschaki) This is a reference to the story of the man who jumped out of the window because he was driven, but not restrained, by love, and then killed himself by jumping out of the room of his beloved onto a mirror that lay on the street. The silence which followed the shattering of the Mirror is called the silence of the street; and ponder upon that metaphor. (Stanzman) Calbass pertains that it is the sound heard by the person who jumped to death, after he hears the smashing of his bones. And what does he hear? He hears his soul that jumps down, in a bashful silence, through the apple of his left eye, in order to shatter itself on the street. But never has anyone yet heard the shattering of the soul on the pavement. On this Sebastian said: "no joy that is complete, no suffering that reaches release". (Cahn)


●Sown with sounds of physical ruminations of one or some cats: these are the sounds of cats looking for food in the gutters, others say: these are the howls of love. 6The regular fall of a drop in lower waters: The brilliant Pardes61 says: these are the drops from a faucet that doesn't close well, into a sink full of procrastinated action. Some say that she said: these are the drops of a closed well that sink on a dry bed. Calabides says: this refers to unfulfilling62 intercourse. Calbass says: this refers to onanism63. Sebastian says: the regular fall of the drop is the constant outcry of love, as it is written "when I called in my night the name of my beloved, the silence which followed was like the stagnating waters of the city in which my voice was swallowed like a fallen drop of hope". do not read foot notes until you stand firm on the text -- for you might remain with cold feet ..would you then suffer to smile or think???

61The epiteths of brilliance (and later of beauty) seek to create a connection between Pardes and Abigail, for whom the same epiteths are used, as it is written ‫והאשה‬ ‫*( טובת שכל ויפת תאר‬Shmuel-Samuel I, 25:3); probable connection - they both had a way of talking to men (Bartok) Stanzmann claims that the textual context of the mention of the epiteth and the name, seek to connect womanhood to the Ultimate Orchard ['pardes' ‫ פרדס‬in Hebrew] of Eden, while Lustigmacher presumes that it seeks to relate the fantasy of Ultimate Knowledge as a reflection of the bliss of orgasm,'... as it might emerge, during intercourse, by perception of the lover's skin as a silvery and osmotic screen, that appears on such privileged moments like opaque white marble through which seeps the translucency of light, and which marks itself on the retina of the beholder as a vision of the other's soul. Bliss is then born within the beholder's remembrance of the primary illumination: 'I may know', which is the message of the Tree of Knowledge. When bliss is attained through solitary onanism, than the source of bliss lies in the basic illumination that 'one may believe', which is the message of the Tree of Life. Compare with the reference of "Pardes' in the Babylonian Talmud (*‫ מס' חגיגה‬Tr. Hagiga 14b): They are four who penetrated Pardes: Ben Azai, Ben Zoma, the Other and Rabbi Akiba. Rabbi Akiba told them: "When you will reach [the] pure marble stones, do not call [out] 'water, water', for it is said: (*Tehilim-Psalms 101:7) 'The speaker of untruths will not remain in front of my eyes'". Ben Azai peered and perished, Ben Zoma peered and was struck, the Other gathered spices, Rabbi Akiba exited in peace. (Singerman) 62Ms. Parma reads unsatisfying, which is linguistically more correct, but has a weaker image. (E-M) 63Both Calabides and Calbass offer an interpretation of the words of Pardes. Therefore they start their sentence with "this" and not, like Pardes, with "these".

Moreover it is written: Four silences are hard to bear: the silence after birth, the silence after death, the silence after intercourse and the silence after onanism.


Moved his face etc.: The Sages taught: From Abraham and Matthias we infer three stages that lead from old inertia to new action: By Abraham it is written: "Go ... from your country, from your birthplace, from your father's house, to the land etc."67The Travelers said: "your country" is what you run from because it lives in you, it is your fright, "your birthplace" is your language, which is the cradle of your thoughts and the birthmark on your soul. On "your father's house" they kept silent. Others say that they said: that is your mind and its constraints. Sebastian was seated on a high mountain and elaborated on our passage. It is written: 'moved', 'threw off' and 'sat up'. Go out and Matthias moved his face in the dark64, threw off his cover and sat up in his bed. The cover seemed65 to remain partly on his bed, while part of it touched the floor.

do not read foot notes until you stand firm on the text -- for you might remain with cold feet ..would you then suffer to smile or think???

64moved his face: to free himself from sadness, which is like a half-closed demon's claw. In order to free himself from sadness he had to turn his face to face the open side of the claws. Later on it is said: "and threw off etc." and further: "then he stood up", which shows that only because he released himself from the magical grip of sadness, he could conceive of taking and executing an action (Yitschaki) The Sages connect this movement to Moses, when he saw the appearance at the Burning Bush, as it is written (*Shemot-Exodus 3:3): ‫ויאמר משה‬ ...‫( אסרה נא ואראה‬I'll turn toward and I'll see) (Asharav) 65seemed, because there was no light in the room in order to make sure that it did lie so. (Yitschaki) 66Varhol says that this was the habit of prophets in those times, to sleep on mattresses instead of real beds. The 10 year guarantee is an allusion to the 10 tests that Abraham had to pass (*Pirkey Avot, 8), and the drawing of the position of the back alludes to the perfect acquirement of knowledge, according to the Shiur Q'oma - Cabalistic concept which sets the parallel between the measurements of the physical body and the construction of the abstract God. Cf. *Letter of Sanctity I. The three cats indicate the Three Ways (5O€ according to the Egyptian Sage - Motion, Abstraction and Perception according to Maimonides - Smell, Sight and Touch according to Ramah), which are seemingly separated, but are united undercover. Such icons of three cats are still to be found on existing mattresses. Compare also the use of the metaphor of the cat in *Colette, "La Chatte", and in "George or Jacques Laquan, 23 years old...", Unpublished Writings of a Forgotten Soul, Haiti 1994. (Schreiber) 67*Genesis-Bereshit 12:1 ‫לך לך מארצך וממולדתך ומבית‬ ‫( אביך אל הארץ אשר אראך‬E-M)

learn: three dancing steps to knowledge did Matthias reveal. Said Sebastian: Firstly, he 'moved his face' to set off intuition, as it is written "and the wind of destiny was moving above the face of the waters": to wake the innate remembrance. On which it was asked: what is the first innate remembrance? Said the Pragmatists: it is the remembrance that existence exists even when not remembered. As it is written: "and the earth was"68. The Mystics said: it is the remembrance of the existence of the capacity of astonishment. As it is written: Tohu69. Secondly, Said Sebastian: 'Threw off the cover': he freed his Choose the kind word etc. As it told: When the Almighty thought from the cover issettled to create the world, the of language. Why? To letters came swarming to Him by one, imploring: 'Create be able to choose the one the world with me, Oh Sire of 71 kind word. Asked the Universe', but God chose the to which he reached out Calbass: And which is letters himself, not those that reached the kind word? Said out to him. - From the moment Kilke: The one that is illumination is born, the words appear like flies on a lump of like the cover: it partly honey, saying all: 'Let me cover covers man and partly it, let me posses it!' But if one wants to gather milk and honey, touches the earth, so rather than make flycakes, the that they might live buzzing words should first be chased away. As it is written: together. Leaving man "honey and milk [are] under your with cold feet and tongue70". leaving a warm spot on earth, so that they might meet. Manger said: the one that is like Matthias: it moves its face in the darkness of in his bed: The Historians claim: Matthias's bed consisted of a 10 year guaranteed mattress, which elevated his sleep about 18 cm above carpet level and on which was a drawing which explained how well Matthias's back will settle itself during sleep, others say: on which was a drawing of the faces of three baby cats, lying in comfort on three separate pillows and being covered by the same cover.66

do not read foot notes until you stand firm on the text -- for you might remain with cold feet ..would you then suffer to smile or think???

68*Bereshit-Genesis

I: 3 ‫ורוח אלוהים מרחפת על פני המים‬ 1:2 ‫ תוהו‬Tohu is currently translated as chaos, but its Hebrew root is interpreted by R' Berakhia in '*The Book of Clarity' (‫ )ספר הבהיר‬as meaning 'wonderment, astonishment' from ‫תהה‬, as it is said in *Bereshit Rabba 2: ‫וכבר היה ר' שמעון בן זומא יושב‬ ‫[ ותהה‬And R' Shimon, son of Zoma already sat and wondered]. Thus before being able to be astonished about anything, one is astonished about one's capacity of astonishment. (Cahn) 70 ‫* דבש וחלב תחת לשונך‬Shir ha-Shirim-Song of Songs 4:12, indicating that the essence is hidden under the tongue, t.i. the language of words (Yitschaki) 71Ms. Parma : right word. (E-M) 69*Bereshit-Genesis


the world, covering and uncovering it72 to seat mankind on the world. 'Sat up in his bed', Said Sebastian: every river can flow and fill its bed or halt the flow and dry up in its bed, but only man can sit up in his. Moreover73 we have learned: If you want to find the ways of men, go to the waters74. Some swim75 in small waters, others in large waters. Nahman said: I heard when Columbides taught his pupils the following: To understand the ways order cohabits with chaos, look how the Great deal with water: God divides it, Noah builds a square box in it, Moses knocks it out of the rock, Joshua halts it, Jesus walks on it, Columbus crosses it and Matthias drinks it. Others quote Rabba's version76 which reads: "and Matthias dreams it." The Pragmatists said: "moved his face", from this we learn that Matthias woke up with a stiff neck77. "Threw off his cover", from this you can infer that he was looking for his socks. "Sat up in his bed", from this you can deduce that he didn't find his socks.

is told: Matthias pierced through It the dark and his pupils Matthias's eyes were like dilated. spotlights scanning the universe, without the object that fell under their gaze being disturbed by the ray of Matthias's perception. Unlike Bar Yochai78, unlike J.J. of Dublin79 and unlike myself, Matthias's insight did not alter any particle of the universe, and this was his holiness. ◙ Elsewhere it is told: Matthias could penetrate a person's heart until its seventh layer and absorb the extent and the geography of its core without his perception changing one tonality of the perceived heartbeat, nor even affecting the person's blood flow in the cheeks or the evaporation of sweat through the pores. Unlike Bar Yochai, what does that mean? It is told that when he left the grotto where he had secluded himself for thirteen years to contemplate, Shimon Bar Yochai burned with his gaze the crops that where waiting on the field to be gathered, as if thinking: Is this what living humans spend their time with.

do not read foot notes until you stand firm on the text -- for you might remain with cold feet ..would you then suffer to smile or think??? do not read foot notes until you stand firm on the text -- for you might remain with cold feet ..would you then suffer to smile or think???

Bar Yochai will be explained further on. (Yitschaki) On the identity of J.J. the scholars are divided. Abraham’s school maintains that this refers to James Joyce, quoting mainly Dublin as evidence, while Grossbart and his followers claim that it is obviously Jacov Jitschak, the Seer of Lublin, of whom it is told that he could see from one side of the earth to the other, and also that he used to whitewash the soul of any perceived person, and return it to the latter as clean as on the day of birth. etc. See Buber, M: *Gog and Magog .1969 ‫ם‬-‫ י‬,‫ *החוזה מלובלין‬,‫ אלפסי‬and also the anonymous major work : .‫ תרע'ה‬,‫*נפלאות הרבי‬. Some of Grossbart's followers explain the mentioning of Dublin instead of Lublin as a typo, others as a veil, like the Seer himself who veiled his eyes from childhood on, in order to suffer less from the sights the world had (1929 ed. reads 'has') to offer. Another interesting interpretation is offered by the New Yiddishist Criticism, which can be seen as a synthesis of both views. They follow in Grossbart’s footsteps in reading Dublin as Lublin and J.J. as Jacov Jitschak, and follow Abraham’s as interpreting the whole passage as Ars Poetica. J. J. is accordingly read as Jacov, son of Jitschok, which pertains to Jacov Glatstein, who was born in Lublin and who is a major Modernist Yiddish poet. See Hrushovsky, *American Yiddish Poetry, NY 1990 and Nowersztern, *In the Contradictions of Yiddish Modernism: Metapoetic Poems of the Young Glatshtein", in YIVO Bletter, 1991, pp. 199-248. (Blass) 78

'it' refers to the world or to the darkness of the world. (Asharav) Ms. Parma reads 'itself'. (E-M) 73a propos river and water, the text brings other references with men and water. (Yitschaki) 74Stanzmann has shown that this saying comes from the Hindu teachings, and was first said a propos the Ganges, Anaxagoras says that it pertains to Hades (Schreiber) 75meaning: some interpret the meaning of "waters" in a restricted way, meaning water-closet, (like Erica Young, f.i., in "*Fear of Flying" where she presents her method of comparative anthropology by studying the w.c.'s of different cultures. Others, like Columbides, approach the meaning of 'waters' from a different vantage point. (Schreiber) 76 Rabba's version was probably a very early and only partial written version of the oral account of Matthias. Rabba's version of Matthias was probably handed down by R' Meir, together with his own manuscripts which are sometimes referred to as the Torah of R' Meir (*Midrash Rabba 20:29), and which contain disturbing divergences from our own version of texts. As f.i. in *Genesis 3:21, instead of the accepted version of "dresses of skin" ‫כתנות עור‬, R' Meir's Torah quotes ‫כתנות אור‬, which means "dresses of light". As said Hemli the Tailor: a slight alteration, and hop, you'll be like a new fish in a different pond (Yitschaki) 77proving thus to be a son of his people, as it is written: "a stiffed-necked people you are". 72

79


Unlike J.J., what does it mean? For J.J. looked at the soul and whitewashed it before detaching his gaze80. Unlike myself, what does it mean? It is told that when Shimon Bar Yochai burned the crops with his gaze a voice was heard, saying: "Stop destroying my world", as if saying: is this what living humans spend their time with. Those and those and those are the ways of living humans, said Matthias without averting his eyes from the world and this was his holiness. ●The Pragmatists said "pierced through the dark" comes to teach us that Matthias was still wondering about the emplacement of his socks.

do not read foot notes until you stand firm on the text -- for you might remain with cold feet ..would you then suffer to smile or think???

80while Matthias didn't alter the seen soul (Yitschaki) According to Grossbart this refers to the capacity of the Seer or the Eagle of Lublin, who was able to descend into the depths of his interlocutor, fish out his soul, whitewash it and replace it as if new. Cf. Buber and Alfassi, previous note. Abrahams explains this passage as a metaphor of the paper and the act of writing, seeing the paper as a whitewashed soul, in "James Joyce Revisited", Buenos Aires, 1947. Some New Yiddish Criticists (NYC) connect this passage to the second part ("‫[ "חלומות‬Khaloymes=Dreams in Yiddish]) of Glatstein's first book of poetry, *Jacov Glatstein, New York 1921. An uninteresting comparative study "The Retouched Picture" by Souverin, interprets the passage of whitewashing as a denunciation of the autobiographical genre as a possible quest for Truth. See especially the chapter 'Les empreintes sont du retoucheur, jamais du model' in Methodes IV, 1963. (Blass)

Calbass said: "his pupils dilated", and what did his eyes see? They saw a craving for love. When Sebastian came to the teaching of Calbass, he raised at every step saw love etc. Asked the his voice and Scribes: how can you learn that Matthias eyes always saw love? Haven't we read wept, saying: Woe in Matthias's journal: "today is a day of to the loneliness love. i spoke to b. face to face, with r. over the phone. got a letter from m., i. of Matthias who at came and left forever. and now i read every step saw my father's manuscript. (this time in the Hebrew version) and find it well love, but could not written." Now why would he mention join it, for it is today as a day of love, if every day he love? Said Kilke: A journal is not a said: "Matthias saw heart, as a newspaper is not a world. sight didn't alter Others say that he explained: Every day saw it, but not every day was he seen any particle etc." he by it, as people say: the haven of love is and promoting in the eyes81. change is the only On the same portion the Scribes expounded: 'my father's manuscript' to way of being, as it what does this refer? A biography of is said: and the someone 82 who has survived destruction . Others say that this refers wind of destiny to the Scriptures. was wandering on the face of the waters.83 It is told: One evening when Caramibas sat at his84 table and Sebastian finished his weeping, Caraibas said: Joy of Matthias who could perceive love without his perception ever getting obstructed by the peeling of skins, which is our curse. Wondered Sebastian: but that's the snake's curse, as we have learned before85. Answered Caraibes86: Our deepest do not read foot notes until you stand firm on the text -- for you might remain with cold feet ..would you then suffer to smile or think???

81Ms. Parma reads 'in the eye of the beholder' and it demands consideration. (E-M) 82Whenever you meet the word "destruction' in the text, it either refers to the destruction of the Temple or to what is known today as the Holocaust, which is referred to in Yiddish as the ‫[ דער חורבן‬the Destruction]. (Yitschaki) 83*Genesis-Bereshit I, 3 ‫ורוח אלוהים מרחפת על פני המים‬ which shows that before the creation of the world the Godhead was wandering around, like abandoned waters, as if non-existent (Yitschaki) 84refers to the story above, and means thus: at Sebastian's table (Yitschaki) 85This sentence should be read: as we have learned in Before, and Before means Genesis which starts with the words "Before fate created heaven etc." Concerning the curse see *Bereshit-Genesis 3:14. 86Caramibas, Caraibas, Caraibes are all the same person. On the reason for this amalgam of names, Yitschaki says that it is because he lived in a country were the clerks were quasi-Philistines concerning Yiddish spelling. See in Perakim III,28 the paragraph starting: Caraibes lived in Netania, after having lived in the Carraibes... Melamed pertains that he was a spy. See: Les Trois Vies de Caramibe, Paris 1993. (Schreiber)


curse is carried by our deepest blessing, and between both stands the woman like a veil. On which the woman Pardes stood up and brought water to the men, and they dipped their fingers therein and wetted their lips, and they recited in unison the blessing. Which blessing? Some say: the blessing after food. Some say: the blessing before sexual consummation. Others say that they said: blessed be what will be, which leads us with a blessing in its curse. Said Rabba: there is no disagreement between the three opinions, but the Scribes kept on kibitzing about it. While the Scribes were kibitzing, scribbling and elaborating, Manger poured himself a glass of slivovitch87 and dipping his fingers in it and wetting his lips, he said: Oy geyt of mir a velt88 and parted to the outside, in the snow. Some said89: in the rain. Some said: to destruction90, on which Sebastian said: if I hear his discourse, even in silence91, do not believe I'm not hearing him92, do not believe he does not talk to me93.

Then Manger reentered. Why did he reenter? Because outside it was cold, and inside it was warm. Moreover he didn't wish the Scribes to touch the slivovitz, so he drank it, while telling them about Sigfried.

do not read foot notes until you stand firm on the text -- for you might remain with cold feet ..would you then suffer to smile or think???

87Slivovitch or slivovitz is a mind expanding, imagination inducing beverage which stands at the bases of many intellectual revolutions, like Hassidism f.i. (EM) 88‫( אוי גייט אויף מיר אַ וועלט‬in Yiddish), meaning: O my, what a world. Manger probably referred to the kibitzing of the Scribes. (Yitschaki) Stanzman believes that he exclaimed thus because Pardes left the room, and that it should be understood "Oh a world walks out on me". Sargossohn maintains in "Bilder zur Juedischen Geshichte", Mannheim, 1936, that this is a Polish barbarization of an old Aztec incantation against Evil Spirits [oik eetofmiav felt] which was said by Montezuma before drinking his 'nectar of the Gods', which consisted of a mixture of pepper, honey, cocoa, beans and some secret herbs. According to Buber and other respected scholars, these words are an echo of the last words of Menakhem-Mendel of Riminov, third generation Hassidic leader, and were meant in the sense of "Oh, how the world gathers against me". See M. Buber, "*Gog and Magog" and the anonymous ‫עטרת‬ ‫מנחם‬. (Elfnbein) 89probably some of the people gathered at Sebastian's table. [Yitschaki] 90Whenever you meet the word "destruction' in the text, it either refers to the destruction of the Temple or to what is known today as the Holocaust, which is referred to in Yiddish as the ‫[ דער חורבן‬the Destruction]. Some say that it means 'mental depression' (E-M) 91Ms. Parma reads "in silence, even in hiding, do" 92The silent dialogue between Sebastian and Manger should be understood as a secret dialogue between

.do not read foot notes until you stand firm on the text.. for you might get cold feet ....would you then suffer then to smile or think....

Hebrew and Yiddish, the first represented by Sebastian, the latter by Manger (Eplfeld) Stanzman understands the whole scene as a silent dialogue between oral and written culture, Sebastian and his disciples the Scribes represent different levels of the written legacy, while Manger and Caraibes are the proponents of the oral legacy. (Elfnbein) 93Sebastian's answer refers to the third quoted opinion which said that Manger went out to destruction, on which Sebastian countered that the term of destruction cannot be used with anything which is bound to a living body of knowledge, his in this case (Stanzman)


When Sigfried met his second love, his lips...

When Sigfried met his second love, his lips, after dissolving from their first kiss, told her: "don't ask me where I come from, nor where I go" and they went both together. Evidently, she lost him sooner or later, through inadvertence rather than curiosity. That's what people say: it is not through attraction, but through familiarity, that the fly is lost to the flame.

Rabba, Manger, Kilke, Sebastian, Columbides and Calbass and Others were seated on the Hill of Spring94, and were elaborating on the passage95 of Sigfried.

'His second love': Asked the Sages: what was his first love? Sebastian said: himself. Manger said :God. Kilke said: the veil that was between them96. The three opinions join in Rabba's words who said: His first love was the love of the reflection of his loneliness. 'Don't ask me where I come from, nor where I go'. Said Rabba: "don't ask me etc.", this refers to the fathomlessness of knowledge; don't ask from where it came, but know that it came from somewhere, don't ask where it goes, but remember that it has a way. By asking it its way, you may lead it away from its path and extend its wanderings, and for sure you will remain with only an empty shirt in your hand. Said Manger: the empty shirt in your hand, to what does it refer? Remember the story of Joseph. Two shirts he had to leave behind him, to be able to carry the princely gown. One

do not read foot notes until you stand firm on the text -- for you might remain with cold feet ..would you then suffer to smile or think???

[Tel-Aviv] means the above quoted paragraph of Sigfried. According to some, it means that they discussed the meaning of the transition from Matthias's story to this narrative of Sigfried, while some Pragmatists claim that while they were seated, Sigfried passed by and they were discussing his passage (Yitschaki) 96between himself and God (Stanzman) between himself and his second love (Yitschaki) 94‫אביב‬-‫תל‬

95'passage'


bloody, in the hand of his memory97, one warm98, in the hand of his desire99. Said Kilke: the empty shirt in your hand, to what does it refer? To the word set in voice or in ink, when the breath dies out and the eye turns dry, when the ear is mute100 or the light turns hollow. Kilke poured himself a glass of slivovitz, saying: Do you know what was the story of Sigfried and the dissolved kiss? Sigfried and the girl were sitting for the second time at a coffee table on Shenkin St., not far from Harav Kook101, which runs eternally parallel to Geula102 St., both tending toward the sea, the first in a straight line, as if in amok rushing toward the sea, the latter approaching the sea in a soft curve, as walk the flanneurs; both streets never merge, nor do they ever reach the sea, being both cut by the wild, never ceasing car stream of Hayarkon103 St., before even being halted by the eternal sand. A little further, the Street of Jonah Hanavi104, turns its back to the rushing ha-Yarkon and to the humming sea and walks stubbornly away, making its way toward Allenby105, while from do not read foot notes until you stand firm on the text -- for you might remain with cold feet ..would you then suffer to smile or think???

97This refers to the story of *Bereshit 37:31-35, where, after having been sold, Joseph's shirt is dipped in blood by his brothers and brought to the father as evidence of his death. (Falk) 98Yitschaki asks: usually desire is hot, how come here it is warm? and answers: This refers to the teaching of R' Huna in the name of R' Masna who said concerning Joseph's attraction to the Egyptian woman, that he saw an appearance of his father and it cooled his blood, as it is written: ‫( איקונן של אביו ראה וצנן דמו‬Cf. *Bereshit Rabba 87) (Falk) 99Refers to *Bereshit 39:12-16, the story of Potiphera's wife seducing the man Joseph and remaining with the shirt. She kept the shirt, kissing and embracing it (Cf. *Bereshit Rabba, 87:10), while the man, she threw in prison. On which Berl the Smith said: On that matter, all skins are like shirts, all women like lady Potiphera, and still, only Joseph could resist. (Falk) 100Ms. Parma reads 'deaf', but 'mute' should be preferred (Yitschaki) 101‫ רחוב הרב קוק‬Rabbi Kook was a religious Zionist thinker, dominant figure of the Mizrahi Judaism. 102 ‫ רחוב גאולה‬means Redemption St. 103‫ רחוב הירקון‬The Yarkon is a polluted, once dying, now again livable river that runs in Tel Aviv. 104 ‫ רחוב יונה הנביא‬The prophet Yona, who ran away from spreading the word revealed to him, was, like Pinnochio, swallowed by a big fish. See "*The Book of Jonah", Bible Classics. 105Allenby was a British General.

behind the waves approach, retreat and call, with vehemence under their noses. Said Sebastian: and what did he see on the streets? Said Kilke: on Shenkin he saw what we know, on Harav Kook he saw an empty car with a broken windshield, on Jonah Hanavi, he saw a dead fish, a lonely man and a cat who was afraid of both of them. And on ha-Yarkon? On ha-Yarkon his sight was covered by the sound of the cars, but he perceived the fire of the setting sun, as it reflected on the dusty windshields and on the metal frames that held them. And on Allenby? Answered Kilke: Of Allenby he only perceived the sound of the humming multitude, and it sounded like a chant in the making. Turning first toward the sea, then to his listeners, Kilke proceeded as such: There, on this street with the name of a Tel-Avivian clerk, Sigfried was sitting with [t]his girl, opposite a box-house of god106 and a paper-thin waterfall, and she was drinking her love, while he was sipping his coke. When the waitress, who had a leather corset and a tattoo of a fireand-ice blue phoenix on her left shoulder, passed their table and returned towards the back, Sigfried stood up and went in that same direction, which was where the bathrooms were. Upon his return, after the aforementioned kiss he said: "Don't ask me from where I come etc." Asked Sebastian: Why did he say so? Answered Calbass, instead of Kilke: Sigfried had felt an urge to urinate and had gone to the bathroom before, but had not been able to empty himself. The urge suddenly took over again when he started kissing, so he stood up to return to the bathroom. And that is why he told her: Don't ask me from where I come, nor where I am going. Asked Sebastian: and why did he not want to tell her the reasons of his comings and goings? do not read foot notes until you stand firm on the text -- for you might remain with cold feet ..would you then suffer to smile or think???

106There exists a synagogue on Shenkin street that stands next to a water-fall-shaped fountain, which is in the form of a cube, and with too little windows. Others say that this refers to the new cultural center that stands next to the fountain.


Said Calbass: because his tenseness had already smothered the fiery holy aspect of he kissing; he didn't wish to talk about the bodily causes of the tenseness in order not to extinguish the remaining glow of the ashes with an overdose of secularity. Asked Sebastian: but didn't Sigfried once say that one can chase flies, even with a dirty shirt? Murmured Manger: question a story of a kiss, and soon you'll be busy with dirty shirts. That's why Matthias said: 'Don't ask'. Columbides said to Calbass: Both of us were seated there and both of us have seen. Some say that he said: Both of us are seated here and both of us have read. Now come and see how different are the eyes of our souls. It was said: "don't ask me from where etc.". Why did he say so: for he had felt the sudden urge of loving the fire-and-ice blue women and had followed her to the bathroom and had loved her, and when he returned he felt the sudden urge to love the love-drinking girl, and so he kissed her. Therefore Sigfried said: "Don't ask me about my love to her, nor ask me about my urge for you", as it is told: "And they went both together107", which indicates that they left for love.  The Scribes asked: how do Columbides108 and Calbass109 interpret the continuation of Kilke's story? According to Columbides, Kilke obviously tells about the passing waitress who had a tattoo on her shoulder, because she influenced the course of the story, but what does Calbass need this reference for? Said Calbass: She is needed, so that you can go out and learn the weight of associations. Because of the woman, the girl didn't see the do not read foot notes until you stand firm on the text -- for you might remain with cold feet ..would you then suffer to smile or think???

107Wherever it is written "and they went both together", it is a language of common harmony without shared understanding, as in *Bereshis-Genesis 22:8, in contrary to *Ruth 1:19 where it is written: "and they went together", being a language of common understanding, without shared harmony. (Taam) 108who claims that the love affairs are the axis of Sigfried's story (Yitschaki) 109Calbass, who claims that Sigfried's drama evolves around his less subtle bodily needs (Yitschaki)

bathroom110; because of the bathroom111, the man didn't see the girl112, and because of the girl probably, the woman didn't see the man113. Pardes would have answered differently: men like to add women in their stories to whom they can connect the wings of their dreams. The Scribes asked further: how do Columbides and Calbass connect to the words "evidently she lost him sooner or later..."? According to Columbides, the continuation of the text is obvious: she lost him, because she couldn't come to grips with the workings of his heart, but how does Calbass explain the passage? Why did she lose him? Said Calbass: so that you can go out and learn the weight of words. Sigfried hid imperfection114 in order not to chase beauty, and created a breach where the demons115 nestle. It was asked further: how do Columbides and Calbass understand the idiom of the flame and the fly? According to Columbides, the idiom of the fly and the flame is in context116, but what does Calbass do with it? Said Calbass: so that you can go out and save yourself from the abating weight of locutions117.

do not read foot notes until you stand firm on the text -- for you might remain with cold feet ..would you then suffer to smile or think???

110...and suspected that he stood up to follow and join the leather corset...(Yitschaki) 111Here the bathroom is an euphemism for Sigfried's need to urinate (Yitschaki) 112Because of his need for the bathroom, he couldn't focus on her and therefore probably acted strangely, which created a breach in the girl's love (Yitschaki) Ms. Parma reads 'woman'. (E-M) 113This is an a propos reflection, that the waitress probably didn't stop her eyes on Sigfried, and therefore lost the chance of meeting him, because the latter was seated next to a woman. (Yitschaki) 114Ms. Parma reads 'information'. (E-M) 115Verricerio says: as angels are created by the breath of song, demons are created by unspoken thoughts. (Taam) 116The girl was lost to the flame of the phoenix. (Yitschaki) The girl burned (her love) in the auto-da-fe of curiosity (Heidesser) He lost his grip on flying love, because of his quest for flaming love (Bernstein) 117The fly can mean the flap at the front of your trousers, and the flame can designate the waters (Farkasz)


Said Columbides to the Scribes: Both our words are of living thought, but mine come from the water, while his come from the sand, walking on the shoreline, with and Rabba listened, etc. Asked the Sages: Why are walking on the we told about Rabba's walk? with his Explained Kilke: When God shoreline, Almighty ordered the waters to right foot in the water gather in one place and the dry 124 land to appear , the sand and with his left foot grains, seeing the storming waves on the sand118. of the sea, said to themselves: Never will anyone of us be able to withhold the sea from overpowering us. And the sand grains were shivering, contemplating their upcoming destruction, until the grandest grain of sand said to the others: Brothers and sisters, each of us alone is lost against the powers of the waves, but if we all gather together, no power will be able to trample us. And so they gathered and held together, and the upcoming tide saw it and ebbed away. And Rabba, who was of the children of Aaron125, walked to dispel fear126.

On which Calbass said, in the voice of Eeyore119: when i walk it is in a murky plain, misty like a Tarnowsky120 landscape, desolate like the steppe; the earth is muddy, the air is humid, the sky is heavy like iron and its beginning and its end are gray. i step forwards with squeaking footsteps on the mud, on the way are puddles of love in which i can see my reflection or which bear for me a reminiscence of a memory of a far away lake that i have never seen, under an open sky which is for ever closed121. Said Kilke: humans can paint a sun on the screen122, which is capable of burning down a hole in the iron sky of the beginning and the end. Said Da Vinci, who was one of the Sages: the first painting will always be the outline of man's shadow thrown upon a wall by the sun123.

do not read foot notes until you stand firm on the text -- for you might remain with cold feet ..would you then suffer to smile or think???

do not read foot notes until you stand firm on the text -- for you might remain with cold feet ..would you then suffer to smile or think???

118 In ms. Parma the following passage follows, which is presumably a later addition of a mystical editor: On which Berakhia said: "The walking is royalty. With his left foot, which is splendor; on the sand, which is of earth. With his right foot, which is eternity; in the sea, which is of soul. Above the shoreline, which is the meeting, which is of god, which is of man. Underneath his sex, which is the origin, which is of woman, which is of man. Beneath the space between his eyes, which is the void of vision that is of vision, which is intelligence, understanding and glory." (E-M)

119Eeyore is a major character of *A.A. Milne's educational myths about Pooh. For those not familiar with those tales, we strongly suggest a visit to the library. Eeyore's voice has the distinctive tonality of "Byronian unhappiness", see Bertrand Russell, *The Conquest of Happiness. (E-M) 120Probably refers to the movie creator Tarkovsky. Some say that the 'n' is a typo, others see the 'n' as an indication of a hidden reference to the plains depicted in the movie "*Nostalgia". Those who say that it's a typo, believe that the reference is to the movie "*The Sacrifice", for they go according to the opinion: Every typo is a sacrifice to the Truth. (Vanderer) 121Cf. Jacob Glatshteyn's poem '1919' in his first book '*Yakev Glatshteyn': ‫און דער אויבערהאַר האָט מיט דעם‬ .‫בלוי די גאַנצע ערד אַרומגערינגעלט און ניטאָ קיין רעטונג‬-‫הימל‬ (approximately meaning: and the Godhead has wrapped the world with sky-blue, and there is no exit.) (E-M) 122Some say that this refers to the art of cinematography, while others maintain that this refers to painting, but most agree that this is a reference to the arts. Only Berakhia and Fowles propose the interesting interpretation that the grey screen is a reference to the brain "which after the Sin of Knowledge has settled like a screen between comprehension and reality" (Maimonides, *Guide of the Perplexed, Bk. 1). See also Fowles, *Mantissa, chapter 2. (Stanzmann) 123Quoted by Gilles Neret, *Erotica Universalis, Koln 1994, p.7. 124*Genesis-Bereshit 1:9. 125See *Pirkey Avot. A propos, Aaron's ideals of peace are seen as the cause of the Golden Calf, as is explained in Midrash Rabba, and it needs pondering. (Flug)


On which the beautiful Pardes appeared like a robin127, some say: like an answer, and they all went together128. Only the Scribes remained kibitzing, scribbling and arguing, like sand grains driven by the wind after the tide has set, about what had happened to Matthias in his dark night, and they expounded and noted as follows.

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126Rabba tried to bridge between the world of land and the world of the sea, who keep their distance in fear and estrangement of each other. (Schreiber) 127'Pardes appeared like a robin'. It is told: how did the robin get his red belly? When Jesus was bleeding on the cross, out of love or because of bad fate, the robin didn't ask many questions and went to console the sufferer, and his belly got soiled by the wounds of the saviour, which made him a red belly. Therefore it is said: Pardes appeared like a robin, soothing the men in their wounds of existence, without fear of getting smeared (Cardinal Monsonego) Others say that this refers to the divine interventions of Christopher Robin in the Milne cycle (Schreiber) 128together indicating that they were in peace with themselves and the world (Yitschaki) 129See (or don’t) Lustigmacher's farfetched interpretation in his article "Onan and Matthias: positive and negative aspects of masturbation", Psychologie und Wissenschaft II, Berlin 1927. (Shtauber)

It is written "he saw", what did he see? Manger interprets as do some of the Dreamers, that through the light bulb Matthias saw love130. Sebastian interprets as do the Scribes, that the light bulb brought Matthias to self-realization. Columbides interprets like Manger etc. that Matthias saw love131: As we heard: Columbides and the Dreamers were gathered on the Dune of Spring132 and he told them: Finally, not having risen yet from his bed, but pondering on the possible locations of his socks, Matthias switched on a bulb of light, and behold, he saw [t]his girl sleeping next to him in [t]his bed. As if disturbed by the light, she sleepily parted her lips, saying: where are you going? Where do you come from?...On which immediately, others say, after a slight reticence, Matthias kissed her back to sleep. 'He remembered his thirst': weighing the previous silence against her present voice, the feel of the glass against the touch of her lips, the water of the bathroom against the flow of her breath, the outside cold against the inside warm, the rising blackness of the night's howling void against the falling light on her translucent, calm body, Matthias finally snuggled himself next to her. 'And drank out of the palm of his hand', supporting her breast with the palm of his hand, Matthias dreamt away about a time when he would be like Sigfried and Samuel133. And therefore it is said: 'It evidently changed his life etc.' for dreams are the stepping stones to reality134. Sebastian interpreted etc. that Matthias came to new knowledge: As it is told: Sebastian enlightened the Scribes and said: It is said: 'he Matthias switched on the light and saw. He remembered his thirst and drank out of the palm of his hand129.

do not read foot notes until you stand firm on the text -- for you might remain with cold feet ..would you then suffer to smile or think???

130Ms.

Parma reads 'saw intimacy'. (E-M) Parma reads 'intimacy'. (E-M) 132‫אביב‬-‫[ תל‬Tel-Aviv] 133Like Sigfried and Samuel: meaning to be capable of claiming "I am the Seer", while being able to say "Don't ask etc." (Yitschaki) 134Cf. Bachelard, Gaston: *La flamme d'une chandelle, Paris 1961, p. 2 : "Un être rêveur heureux de rêver, actif dans sa rêverie, tient une vérité de l'être, un avenir de l'être humain." (E-M) 131Ms.


switched on the light', to teach you that his being changed135. 'And he saw' that the world in his mind was different from the world of perception, 'He remembered his thirst' for knowledge, 'And drank from the palm of his hand', and Matthias stretched out the palm of his hand136, and not of his mind, to reach knowledge. And therefore it is said: 'it evidently changed his life', for action is the stepping stone to reality. Calbass, who during the course of the discussion had been sipping slivovitz with Sebastian and Manger added: 'switched on the light and saw'. What did he first see? He saw an unknown lighter in the northern corner137 of the bed, and he saw a crack on the wall that had the outline of a tree138, and he saw that he was in a room, different from the one he had imagined139. Seeing an unknown lighter, he remembered his wish for warmth; seeing the do not read foot notes until you stand firm on the text -- for you might remain with cold feet ..would you then suffer to smile or think???

135Sebastian

reads the sentence as 'he [=his being] switched, on [account of] the light (Stanzman) 136As it is written ‫[ וישלח את אמתה‬She sent her servant] (*Shemoth-Exodus 2:5), which the Teachers interpret as "she sent out her hand". Also as it is said: ‫נטה את ידך על‬ ‫[ הים‬stretch out your hand over the sea] (*ShemothExodus 14:26), where the stretching out of the hand is the first requirement for the accomplishment of an action, the changing of a history, from known inertia to unknown future. (Yitschaki) 137the Northern corner: to teach you that Matthias sought for the unknown light that lies hidden in the darkest part of his being (according to Manger, her being), like David who, for the composition of his poetry, waited to be awakened by the Northern wind at the peak moment of night's darkness. See Babylonian Talmud, Tr. *Berakhot 3b-:‫ברכות ג‬: ‫ודוד בפלגא דליליא הוי‬ '‫( קאי וכו‬Ramah) 138This is an obvious reference to the Tree of Knowledge, which is like a crack of light in the wall of our solitude (Ramah) Listen also to Leonard Cohen's "*Light as a Breeze" in "The Future". (E-M) 139According to Manger different because he suddenly met his girl in this bed which rendered the room different, the Westerners say that he was actually in her room and not in his. According to Sebastian, "different" because he hadn't imagined, nor the lighter, nor the tree (Yitschaki) Different, because the world of perception is always different from the imagined world. Man imagines the world in black and white, like Heaven or Hell, and woman imagines the colors of the paved way that lies between the worlds, while obviously the world is different (Stanzman) Different: there were many clean glasses in the cupboard, but none to choose from (Kilke)

tree, he remembered his thirst; seeing the strange room, he remembered the palm of his own hand, and went and drank from it. It is told: While rolling down the two-faced parokhet between140 the interpretations, Rabba said: "Matthias kept on sculpting waves and mountains on the surface of the white sheet, as do the Scribes with black ink, and he went on questing for water that tastes like the flow of milk and honey, as do the Dreamers with bare thoughts." And the curtain rolled down. The Scribes wrote everything down, as it is written: 'and M. wrote down all these things141' and they added this epilogue: The Mystics said: When Matthias felt the winds rising in his mind, at first he would resist, as it is written, 'a stiffed-necked people are my people'. Then he would give in to it, as it is said: 'the song of the shibboleth is thy song', finally he would be part of it, as it is sung142: 'you don't know me from the wind'. Calbass, student of Rabba added: And between every stage and stage Matthias was like a burning thornbush143. Abba inverted the order and said: first Matthias was part of it, as it is sung: 'you don't know me from the wind', then he would give in to it, as it is said: 'the song of the shibboleth is thy song', but finally he would resist it, as it is written: 'like cedar trees are my people'. Zoma, the student of Abba said: And between every phase and phase Matthias felt like the Red Sea144. Moreover145 it is written: When Matthias felt the ebbing away of the say146, the first thing he would feel, was his neck, as it is written: For a stiffed-necked people you are. Then he felt an itching on the palm of his hands, as it is said: And no offering have I to give you147, and

do not read foot notes until you stand firm on the text -- for you might remain with cold feet ..would you then suffer to smile or think???

140Ms.

Parma reads 'on the commentaries. (E-M) *Book of Esther, 8:9-10, 9:20, 9:29. (Wexler) 142Listen to Leonard Cohen, The Future in "*The Future". (E-M) 143like a burning thorn-bush: transmitting knowledge through eternal burning, without ever knowing consumation. (Ashrav) 144like the Red Sea: being split and crossed in order to permit the passage of knowledge (Kilke) Being between water and blood (Yitschaki) 145Moreover: if the text already brought the passage of Matthias and the wind, it wishes also to bring a passage about Matthias and the sea. (Yitschaki) 146Ms. Parma quotes sea. Ms. Worms quotes see. P. Sonnberg has expounded about this diversity of versions in his article "The Holy Trinity of a Misquotation", printed in 'How Jews view Christianity', ed. Benson, Buenos Aires 1947. (E-M) 147You pertains to men, some say to God. Others say that Matthias would mumble this to himself. Manger interprets it probably as a silent muttering to her. (Cahn) 141The


finally he felt his feet on the ground, as it is said: My way is hidden from my God148. Some say, as he said: God's way is under my feet. Asced149 the Scribes: Where is thus said so? So they150 answered: here, while writing down the story in its full length.

It was told: Once there came a layman to the house of study and asked to get the story of Matthias on one foot151. The Mystics chased him away by the power of their gaze. R' Yehuda152, who was the head of the Speakers, said like this: It was in the darkest of night that M. woke up; in his thirst he discovered meaning. R' Cioran153, who was reading the times, said the following in a sober mood: There is no resistance to the night. In darkness M. dreamt dreams of light, which in thirst come about as cravings for water.

do not read foot notes until you stand firm on the text -- for you might remain with cold feet ..would you then suffer to smile or think???

148‫*( נסתרה דרכי מאלוהים‬Isaiah-Yeshayahu 40). See *Bereshit Rabba 94:4. (Cahn) 149'asced' seems to be a typo for asked. But the Mystics say that the text insinuates a condemnation of the asceticism of the Scribes. (Yitschaki) 150they: the optimists maintain that this pronoun concerns the Scribes themselves who asked the question. The pessimists, but not existentialists, claim that it pertains to others (probably, the Sages) who answered them. The Mystics say that the above quoted verses answered them, while Manger would say that Matthias and God answered the Scribes and that the latter didn't necessarily hear it. But then again, Manger would be slightly tipsy at that stage and should be taken with a grain of salt. (Nadir) 151Fig. speech: the time of standing on one foot. The Carraites took this passage literally and had the ritual of writing the story of Matthias on the feet of their wounded soldiers. The habit has survived until this day in the writing on the plaster casts of adolescents (who are, said Berakhia, the wounded soldiers of every era). (Stanzmann) 152Another mention of R' Yehuda can be found in the *Pessah Haggadda, where he also shows his tremendous capacities of simplifying and synthesizing. See: ‫ר' יהודה‬ .‫ דצ"ך עד"ש בעח"ב‬:‫היה נותן בהם סימנים‬ 153Read, but only if your eyes are strong enough to face the multi-faceted brilliant black diamond of existence, without getting burned out: Cioran: *Precis de Decomposition, Gallimard, Paris 1949. Take as much as you can, but don't overread, because you might spit black blood, as it is said: ‫דבש מצאת אכל דיך פן תשבענו‬ ‫[ והקאתו‬If you found honey, eat as much as you can, but do not overeat, for you may vomit it.] *Mishli-Proverbs 24:16. (Meyer)

Why was R' Cioran in a sober mood? Some say: because of the layman's wish154, some say: because of the reading of the Times155. And both opinions join and agree156. Edison said: all157 is in the light bulb. When the asker turned to Manger, he was in the middle of singing the following song158 and didn't interrupt it: ‫כ'האָב אַ חלום אײַ ך געבראַכט‬ ,‫און איר האָט אים אָ פּגעשטויסן‬ ‫ווען ס'איז געוואָרן נאַכט‬ ,‫האָט איר מיר געלאָזט אין דרויסן‬ ‫כ'האָב אַ חלום אײַ ך געבראַכט‬ 159 . ‫און איר האָט אים אָ פּגעשטויסן‬ do not read foot notes until you stand firm on the text -- for you might remain with cold feet ..would you then suffer to smile or think???

154who wished to walk through the intricacies of existence while standing on one foot (Yitschaki) 155Cioran thought: how can they wish for the pearl of the deep water, if they freeze the pond so as to skate over it (Meyer) 156 Meaning that the layman's wish was caused by his times, as the deteriorated state of things was caused by wishes for gulpable knowledge. Some contemporary Pragmatists believe they find here an indication that the asker was a journalist of the Times. The Historians argue, basing themselves on obscure numerological evidence, that R' Cioran was reading an issue of the "Times" that focused on the millennium and the end of the world, and that the attitude of the inquirer also designates the end of civilization; as said R' Kerndel: 'they hop around in the houses of study and ask for knowledge, like hungry war children for American bubble-gum. And we, are we smiling soldiers or what?' or as said R' Wasserman: 'why on earth, can't they stand with their two feet on the ground?' Most however believe that 'the times' refers to 'the times' and not to 'the Times', and that the statement that the two opinions join and agree means that the layman's wish for bubble-gum knowledge and Cioran's sober mood were both children of their times. (Kohn) 157 'All' should here be understood like in Sebastian's previous sentence, as a reference to God, 'the voice of the All'. And do not wonder that there it is written with a capital A and here with a regular a, because the present text is an English translation of the Yiddish original, which is a language were every regular letter can be a capital, and where every capital dresses like a regular letter. (Yitschaki) 158See for this and other precious songs of Manger ‫איציק‬ .1952 ‫ נ"י‬,‫ *ליד און באַלאַדע‬:‫ מאנגער‬Itzik Manger: Lid un Balade (t.i. Song and Ballad.) The present song is from the Epilogue, p. 439. (E-M) 159Approx. translation from Yiddish: 'I've brought a dream, a dream for you, but you pushed it off, (as if repelled by it,) and when came, when fell the night, you left me standing, in the cold, outside.'


The Scribes sold the standing layman a printed edition of the chapter160 for the price of one shoe, and the layman left, unsettled. Some say161 that he turned into162 an Other163.

.do not read foot notes until you stand firm on the text.. for you might get cold feet ....would you then suffer then to smile or think....

Probably refers to the asker of the question, who disturbs the dream to be dreamt, by asking about it (Kilke) 160the chapter: one chapter, but not all the chapters, and it was probably the chapter of the socks. (Yitschaki) 161The Optimists.(Yitschaki) 162Ms. Parma reads 'to an Other', meaning probably that the layman turned to another house of study, or to a more comprehensible narrative. (E-M) 163‫ ונהפך לאחר‬his being changed. See Tr. *Hagiga 14b, Babylonian Talmud. (Yitschaki)


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The Book of Matthias מגילת מתיאס