Page 51 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 43

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the moon in his sights, and blazed away at it with all the am­
munition he had left.
And yet — for this moment is the fulcrum on which the whole
last part of
A Perfect Peace
turns — having for the first time in his
life successfully externalized the guilt and rage that he feels to­
ward his parents, his wife, his childhood, the burden of Jewish
suffering that history has imposed on him, and finally, toward his
own self, Yonatan is purged at last. He gets to his feet, urinates,
throws up, and, without reaching Petra, runs madly back toward
the safety of the border, his suicidal wishes left cathartically be­
hind in the desert, his will to live assertive again. True, even
symbolically, the moon has not really been killed. It still shines
down on him and always will, for what it symbolizes will be with
him forever. Even as he runs
a net of moonwebs ringed him all around, getting in his way
and tripping him until he collapsed on the ground, his
burning face washed by the silvery sand.
But if Yonatan will still be “tripped” now and then by his
memories, the past has now been consciously integrated in a way
that will allow him to live with it on more or less peaceful terms.
The moonlight that hinders him also bathes his burning face. It is
no longer a hostile, deadening force but an acknowledged part of
himself that, sometimes painful and sometimes consoling, he has
learned to accept.
Eventually, after spending several months with an eccentric
and wise old desert rat named Sasha (whose motto is, “To live! To
screw and to live! To cry and to live! Death is disgusting! Foo!
And it hurts!”) Yonatan returns to the kibbutz — where he finds
Azariah living with a pregnant Rimona and comfortably settled
into the role of her “husband.”Azariah has changed in other ways
too; he is tanned and more muscular; calmer and surer of him­
self also; once laughed at by the other kibbutzniks, he has become
in Yonatan’s absence an accepted, even an admired member of
the community, indeed one of its most forceful and indispens­
able young people; in a word, he has become “Israelified” and