Questioning faith in the parsha
Foreskin’s Lament II
One Saturday night, not long after the blessing bee, Rabbi Blonsky phoned my father and asked if he would build a new holy ark for the synagogue.
–He who contributes to the building of a synagogue, Rabbi Blonsky said earnestly, is considered to have saved the entire Jewish people.
I awoke early the following morning to the familiar tortured wail of my father’s radial saw. The garage was next door to my bedroom.
–“#$*%,” I heard my father say.
He was talking to the ark.
Rabbi Blonsky was the rabbi of our local synagogue, a congregation of about fifty families, located in a converted cottage house on Carlton Road. Rabbi Blonsky was forty years old, and he worried a lot about the Jewish people. I was nine years old, and it was the Jewish people in my house I was worried about. A holy ark wasn’t going to help any of us.
I’d been worried for some time now. Two years ago, when I was seven, I worried so much I did Nixon. My father had attacked my brother with the dining room table, trapping him in the corner and shoving the table into my brother’s stomach until he couldn’t breathe.