Page 153 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 41

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history, not the chronicles o f a congregation, anything but
tha t’s how it stands. For a people tha t doesn’t live
in its own land and doesn’t rule itself has no history. T h a t’s
my whole idea. I’ve already told you and I repea t again, and
I ’ll say it again and again, day and night . . . is it clear? Is it
clear?” And all at once his words ran toge ther and his voice
broke and spu ttered with feeling, his eyes flickered to and
fro like one who doesn’t know which way to go. “With this
I ’ve said a great deal, the whole thing . . . everything I had
on my mind . . . and now I don ’t want to say anything more.
I have no th ing more to add. . . . Enough . . .” (p. 243).
Ju s t after this silent moment — o f confusion, o r relief, or
discomfort, o r ambivalence, perhaps in the mind o f the reader as
well as in the hearts o f the council members — both speaker and
auditors apparen tly revert to the ir prior poses. Yudke remarks
that he has not yet finished, tha t he has not yet reached “the main
th ing”; and the council chairman, continuing his role as chief
auditor, asks him to go on, but adds the outrageously ironic
comment, the closing line o f the story: “. . . and let’s see if we can’t
do without the philosophy. . . .”
One o f the problems which prevents an unambiguous in te rp re­
tation o f this potent, dramatic story o f ideas, is tha t Yudke, as he
himself states, indeed never reaches his main point. A variety of
interpretive approaches is necessary, including perceptions
gained from Hazaz’s confrontation stories (such as “Ashir va-rash
nifgashu” [“Rich Man and Poor Man Meet”], 1928), some o f his
symbolic stories (such as “ha-Gilgul” [“T ransm igra tion”], 1933),
or o the r o f his stories o f ideas (such as “H arat olam” [“T he World
Reborn”], 1936, “Havit akhu ra” [“Murky Barrel”], 1937, and
“Drabkin,” 1938). Each genre, with its inner dynamics and its con­
comitant methods o f analysis and interpre tation , bears some
importance for an understand ing o f “ha-Derasha.” T he most
effective tool o f in terpre tation , however, is a pointed analysis of
the relentless emotive contrast between Yudke and the group.
T ha t is to say, the key to the story again lies in the very conven­
tions o f realistic depiction which give the work its dramatic vital-
i t y ‘
T he main dramatic effect in “ha-Derasha” is Yudke’s over­