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  • Writer's pictureCorbin Allardice

July 30, 1911

Two paths.


The other: “Laying out my entire life on my knees before you, perhaps you will forgive my black sin.” There is no other path. Or--or. If I do something different, that is ugliness and unworth. I am a stinking abomination who falls and rots and fools the world with this supposed life--and fools himself with wanting.

Two choices.

Either my psyche is a tattered shadow, accompanying the rotting abomination, who plies me and lies to me all the more; or the miracle occurs: and God’s spirit has descended upon the abomination. Tkhies Ha’meysim. Resurrection. But a miracle that happens every moment, is no miracle. You drink in every moment in fear and desolation--the impossible has occurred, you are full of joy. The devil leads me to death, promising me life.

Or every moment of my life is a sacrifice for my sin, every moment I pray, waiting and waiting--not yet, my sin is not paid off. Grace is distant, heavy is the road--but I go towards grace, which waits also for me. Or I idle, rot, become sand and shit and dream of resurrection. If so--I must die.

May one break one of God’s vessels--I say to myself. And I ask: is that not the fear of an animal, ugly cowardice. Am I not searching for a horn of the altar to escape death--I, sentenced to death, who have merited this death, who is already dead?

The right to live goes only to he who can freely go unto death when there is no other way. Is there no other way for me? I must prove to myself in every moment that I have yet the right to live, to wander God’s world, to step my feet upon God’s earth, to look at rainbows of color and of souls. I cannot prove this. I have no right to look, and he who is not permitted to look does not see. I am sinful, and in the shadow of my sins, all life’s colors grow--pale; souls--dull, dead masks. I must create my right, creation every moment. Knock--and someone will open the door. Do I knock? I am afraid to go near the door, it is nailed shut. I go around, waiting for someone to come and say: “the door is open.” No one will come. “Knock--and someone will open the door.”

In heavy moments, I turn to animals. Wet faces and good, simple eyes. Or they are silent: going around, always around, and banging their heads on the bars; or they howl dreadfully, a strange prolongation of “woe are we, the conquered.” Animals do not know of lying. They are truth. Often an unclear thought, there is no sin. But I, I am sinful. My reality is sin. I must kill it in every moment--or it kills me.

By Moyshe Varshe

Translated by Corbin Allardice

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