An e-mail from my rabbi, who’s moved to the West Coast,
says they’re “happier than pigs in shit.” Something
forced about that. People with a new grandchild don’t boast
that way, usually. But my rabbi’s different, trying,
despite fame as a teacher, to prove something. Let’s speculate
that those pastoral visits to sickbeds, those weddings, those grave-side
prayers, gave him an anchor to the unremarkable, the basic
nurturing commonness of others’ lives. Out there
he’s free of all that–or denied it?–and is hoping
that–if he tries writing daily–he’ll capture
in a novel everything he knows. Joy. Despair.
“Some days,” he says, “I feel like jumping off the Golden Gate.”
Odd to hear that from a man who once said that God
turns tragedy and comedy into history, if we wait.