Page 102 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 49

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JEWISH BOOK ANNUAL
version. The p rophe t is in ten t upon reviving the child, even
if it means he must sacrifice his own vital power and be totally
dra ined . T h e p rophe t represen ts the o lder generation and its
total investment in the younger generation, who will realize the
parental aspirations. T h e dea th o f the child is in te rp re ted as
a betrayal o f those hopes and o f the dream o f redemption . This
may reflect attitudes to youth in the Yishuv in Eretz Yisrael
o r a sense that the o lder type o f Jew must give way to and
live th rough the new Jew. Ano ther possibility is that it may also
reflect the relationship o f the socially committed poet to the
general public. He labors to animate them, no m atter what the
cost. In the poem, Elisha says to the child: “You are my dream ,
consecrated from the heart,/ you, the new generation ,/ how
could you so quickly have tu rned back —/ to choose dea th?”
Seven heavens, he says, are waiting for prophets, the land awaits
them, and the stars are waiting for illumination. Elisha offers
the youth his eyes and his voice and says: “Live! . . . Lo, I open
my veins until they are empty. . . . I will die, I will perish —/
You live!”
Amos is the earliest o f the literary prophets, and his type
o f prophetic vocation represents a change in Israel. He and
the p rophe ts who followed him shared in common a moral fe r­
vor and a fierce condemnation o f evil, and he knows the awe­
some force o f the Divine revelation (Amos 3:3-8). He does not
appear to be su rrounded by “sons o f the p rophe ts” (Amos 7:14)
and he perform s no miracles as did Elijah and Elisha. Yet he
inaugurates a new era. T h e change is reflected in a short sketch
by Jacob Cahan, “New Wonders.” Seized by the spirit o f God,
Amos comes to Bethel to prophesy. After his discourse, people
ask him to perform miracles so that they may have food and
healing. When he remonstrates that he cannot do what only
God can, the crowd becomes hostile. They cite him the traditions
o f Elijah’s and Elisha’s miracles and accuse him o f not caring
for them. T hen Amos proclaims, “I am not a p rophe t o r the
son o f a p rophe t, and the wonders you ask I know no thing
o f them. But I know and predict new wonders.” He goes on
to describe an era o f social peace, o f com fort for all hearts and
even victory over death. “How is this to come about?” they ask,
and he answers tha t they must acquire a new heart, seek the
Lord with total comm itment and establish justice in the land.
The meaning o f this sketch is clear: the miracle-working p ro p h ­