Larchmont Temple Chevra Torah

Questioning faith in the parsha

The Silver Crown by Bernard Malamud

Parshah Tazria

Gans, the father, lay dying in a hospital bed.  Different doctors said different things, held different theories. There was talk of an exploratory operation but they thought it might kill him. One doctor said cancer. “Of the heart, the old man said bitterly.

“It wouldn’t be impossible.

The young Gans, Albert, a high school biology teacher, in the afternoons walked the streets in sorrow. What can anybody do about cancer? His soles wore thin with walking. He was easily irritated; angered by the war, atom bomb, pollution, death, obviously the strain of worrying about his father’s illness.  To be able to do nothing for him made him frantic.  He had done nothing for him all his life.

A female colleague, an English teacher he had slept with once, a girl who was visibly aging, advised, “If the doctors don’t know, Albert, try a faith healer. Different people know different things; nobody knows everything. You can’t tell about the human body.”

—-for the rest of the story, come to Chevra!


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