Jerusalem, a Beggar’s Prospect

by Moshe Dann (February 2013)

Ya! Habibi! How much for a kilo of love?

Looking around quickly, she grabbed some fruit and vegetables, put them into a plastic bag and dashed down the stairs into the street as if pursued. From the balcony Amos watched her drive off through a flutter of pigeons, newspapers and empty soda bottles. Why did you leave? Why? Lamah?

Impulsively, Amos got into his car and drove in the direction of a passing ambulance. Bombs and rockets were exploding in the distant hills as snipers shot across the valley. At first it sounded like the crackle of lightning, then heavy thunder as a fighter plane flew low overhead, followed by a helicopter heading toward the noise of machine guns and shelling. People sat in the chic cafes of Emek Refaim unconcerned with what was going on, busy with details of their lives. The fashion of entropy.

Suddenly the Hassid tapped the window. More, he wants more? Amos was irritated. Chutzpah!

Still the Hassid held on to the door, his sidecurls dancing around his ears.

The Hasid suddenly appeared above him on a laundry-draped balcony, waving and beckoning. A minute later he stood in front of Amos.

Amos shook his head.

Nibbling, Amos seemed unable to speak. He began to sweat.

Amos wanted to tell him about Moria, about his life. Maybe he can make sense out of it. Rebbes are supposed to know. But what does this old man know about me, or life? Amos tried to look back at the Rebbe, but felt awkward. This is absurd, opening myself up to a complete stranger, and one from another world. Amos looked at his watch. The Hasid had disappeared. He started to get up.

What does he want from me? Amos thought. More money?

My heart! Nice ploy, Amos thought. First you get into my kishkes and then my pockets.

God? Amos thought. What does God have to do with this?

Amos listened to the clock, sounds of children, Mizrachi Blues from the radio next door, a melody of love.

Another Rebbe, Amos shook his head.

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