Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

11 Tishrei 5766 - October 15, 2005 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










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Home and Family

The Lesson of the Fish
another Through the Looking Glass article by Drora Matlofsky

When a group leader — or an editor — wants to use material, but can't seem to fit it into the scheme of things, they use `glue' or `poetic license.'

So here is some editor's fish glue for this article which came after our Rosh Hashonah deadline:

In our succa we have a poster which hung in the succa of my father z'l. It sported a picture of a big, big fish, and had the parting blessing before leaving the succa, which read: Just as we have merited sitting in this succa, so shall we merit sitting in the eternal succa made from the skin of the Livyosson.

Good enough?

The head of a fish glares unseeingly at me from a large plate. I shiver. I don't know enough about fish to know what kind it is that has been decapitated and ended up in my fridge. And why is it looking at me like that?

Maybe I'll put another plate on top of it to hide its vacant eye. An eye that cannot see is more frightening than an eye that can see. How can that be? That's because it isn't an eye. It is what used to be an eye, what used to look at the secrets of the sea, at things I have never seen or even imagined.

Maybe that's what is frightening. It's like visiting the inside of what was once a castle. Those crumbling walls have seen kings and riches and power I cannot even dream of. And what is left of them is not interested in looking at me.

This eye puts my existence into question.

"Why are you here?" it asks. "I never saw you in the sea with the mermaids. It's cold in your fridge. The company isn't very interesting. Why should I look at it? What am I doing here?"

"You are here because it's Rosh Hashonah."

"I know. I am here to bring you the mysteries I cannot see any more. I am here to tell you what a fish's mouth cannot utter. To understand me, you must see. But not through your eye. You must hear. But not through your ears." [Ed. Hey, this fits right into Hallel!]

"I must smell?" I offer.

"Yes. And you must taste, but not with your tongue. Ears, eyes, nose and tongue are only symbols.

"Wait a minute. You are the symbol of . . . of . . . of being a rosh and not a tail."

"That's exactly what I was telling you."

This is a bit too much for me to comprehend, but at least I feel the bodiless head has tamed me.

I can now look it in the eye and not shiver.

A fish tale . . .


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