Page 43 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 50

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GREENSTEIN / THE HIDDEN MEZUZAH
35
Just as Kafka’s doorkeeper guards the Law with his key and
just as the key is highly symbolic in Agnon’s fiction, so this fable
regards the lock before the Secret.
The universality of Hollander’s hidden message appears in
the unnamed
mezuzah
of “Monuments”:
Perhaps a monument of eternal crystal
Might yet remain one with what it recollected,
And with reflections on and in it. It would be
More difficult to enter than one of those stone
Closed doorways cut into the sky, the grass. It would
Be empty of itself, and bright with what was meant.
Hollander’s concluding lines equate poem and monument, each
partaking of eternity. In the hermeneutic quest for crystalline
meaning, the
mezuzah
should both mean and be, for it is also
a monument of recollection at closed doorways waiting to be
opened into meaning. For the secularist immersed in the
Zohar,
a hidden
mezuzah
could be empty of itself, and bright with what
was meant. I f a transcendent
mezuzah
can be cut into the sky,
a subliminal, underground
mezuzah
appears in “Letter to Jorge
Luis Borges: Apropos of the Golem”:
Near what was called the Old-New Synagogue;
Under a baroque stone whose urn and column
Emerge in the first dawn lies, dead and solemn,
My ancestor, the Rabbi Loew of Prague.
Hollander breathes life into the ancestral urn containing the
message at the monumental column.
HOWARD MOSS
At the end of “Long Island Springs” Howard Moss pictures
his grandparents on Friday night, the smell of soup, and the
Bible: “The timelessness of swamps came over me.” His iden­
tification with the primitive eternal continues at his grandmoth­
er’s grave:
When flowers on your headstone turn to moss,
Russian cossack horses leap across
The stone, the stone parentheses of years.
The transformation of flowers to moss puns on the poet’s meta­
morphosis from alienation to identification with self and ances­