Di asife

[The Gathering]


The action takes place near the town of Mazepevke, in the Rabbi’s house, immediately after havdole, the ceremony that ends the Sabbath. The Rabbi gathers together a group of men and tries to read them a letter sent by a Jewish community in distress. However, his congregants constantly interrupt him: with questions, comments, suggestions, negations, assertions, etc. Then those who interrupt are themselves constantly interrupted by others, with some characters occasionally commenting, “This is pure comedy.” Whatever the issue is—we never quite learn the details—the men decide to form a committee, then argue over its composition. Then they argue over what the committee should be called, with the Rabbi asking in exasperation, “The child hasn’t been born yet, and you’re already thinking about a name?” So they abandon the name, and drink a toast to the fact that they have a committee. There is much celebration as they leave the house, prompting the Rabbi’s Wife to ask her husband what happened. When he answers, “Little by little, nothing,” she bursts out laughing and exclaims, “A comedy, a pure comedy!”