web analytics
February 28, 2015 / 9 Adar , 5775
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post


Flaming Glory

Reich-032213-Flames

The skin is painful to look at.

Raw- pink, and deeper pink, almost red. How can I touch this? I can’t, I can’t- the pain, the pain! Slowly, slowly, and I feel, rather then see, the almost invisible shudder that runs through Father’s body. My face is blank, but my heart is contracted, paining for him. Hair by hair, hair by hair. Focus on the color, just on the colors. White. And white. And gray. And gray. And black. And- black, brown, grizzled, lifeless - burned.

And I can silence the thought no longer, for here, in front of my eyes- can’t look away, must continue, must look at it -

Is skin, hideously burned, brown and black and red and cracked -

And it screams, flaming up in memory -

“Hurry up!” The officer barks in German. Father quickens his stride and marches down the hallway. Ahead there is an open door.

“In there!” the officer shouts again.

Father quickly enters, blinking in the light. He feels naked, exposed, with his head and peyos and beard uncovered. For the past year he has managed to hide the religious growths. But now he has been caught, the scarf snatched off. They have not found the knife hidden in his clothing, do not know that he was on his way to illegally slaughter a Jew’s chicken. But they found his beard. The feel of German air on his cheeks is frightening.

Several German policemen stand around the room. There are a number of other Jews, looking as nervous and uneasy as he feels. They know they are caught. They know they are in trouble. They only do not know exactly what will happen to them.

At the desk is Shtender, the chief officer of the unit. He stands and speaks harshly. “Under German law of occupation, Jews may not gather for prayer. Jews, you have disobeyed the law.” He nods curtly to some of the younger officers.

In a heartbeat, they attack, rubber truncheons drawn and pounding. I see the flash of swastikas on armbands, rising and descending. There are shouts, and cries, as they descend on the Jews. It is a fearful power; muscular figures, stiff brown uniforms, and those shiny, blackest boots, machines of lithe power, seemingly infinite power, towering over their prey. It is odd, for the Jews are not all small men. And yet they look insignificant, powerless, nothing in face of the beaters.

That is what it is. There are the strong, and there are the weak.

The lines are drawn.

And then my mind stops wandering, for there- here- is Father- and they are beating him too. He is silent, but I scream for him, scream inside me, for they are beating him- Father! On the head, and shoulders, and back- he is trying to protect himself with his arms- Father! He is not a young man- I am tensed, coiled, stop, stop, Father! And it goes on - and I am holding my breath, heart pounding crashing in my ears- I cannot close my eyes to the image - and then it is over.

Close your eyes, do not go further -

The Jews are gasping, some climbing to their feet slowly, some groaning, some holding themselves in pain. They look terrified.

“Jew!” It is Father he calls.

Father comes close to him, as he must. I see Father’s eyes. They are… Father’s eyes, as they always are; deep, and thoughtful, and strong. But… behind all that… I cannot see it, but I know it-

The terrible fear.

Chazkel Reich

Chazkel Reich

Snap!snap!snap! It is so quick, that ignition of the cigarette lighter. So quick, the motion of the arm. So quick, at Father’s beard-

So quick, that the flame grows, licking up the gray, now licking his chin, now licking his cheeks-

I stare in horror, horror – Fatheeeer! Noooooooo! Tight, tight, tight, for there is nothing I can do, as it sears across my mind -

And Father is screaming, screams that tear my heart open- his face is burning – YOU DOGS- PUT IT OUT PUT IT OUT, SOMEONE PUT IT OUT!!

And he is standing there, the German, just standing there.

Just standing there!

And finally, finally, he takes a bucket of water and throws it across Father’s face.

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Flaming Glory”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
18,000 Iranian Centrifuges
Reducing Iran’s Number of Centrifuges Makes a Bomb More Likely
Latest Sections Stories
Niehaus-022715

One should not give the money before Purim morning or after sunset.

Mendlowitz-022715-Basket

The mishloach manos of times gone by were sometimes simple and sometimes elaborate, but the main focus was on the preparation of the delicious food they contained.

Astaire-022715-Countryside

One of the earliest special Purims we have on record was celebrated by the Jews of Granada and Shmuel HaNagid, the eleventh-century rav, poet, soldier and statesman, and one of the most influential Jews in Muslim Spain.

South-Florida-logo

Jews, wake up! Stop educating the world and start educating yourselves.

The lessons conform to the sensitivities and needs of the Orthodox community…

The program took on special significance as it marked not only the first anniversary of Rebbetzin Kudan’s levayah but also the 27th yahrzeit of Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka Schneerson, a”h.

It captures the love of the Jewish soul as only Shlomo Hamelech could portray it – and as only Rabbi Miller could explain it.

Erudite and academic, drawing from ancient and modern sources, the book can be discussed at the Shabbos table as well as in kollel.

I’m here to sit next to you and help you through this Purim with three almost-too-easy mishloach manot ideas, all made with cost-conscious paper bags.

Kids want to be like their friends, and they want to give and get “normal” mishloach manos stocked with store-bought treats.

Whenever he did anything loving for me, I made a big deal about it.

“OMG, it’s so cute, you’re so cute, everything is so cute.”

A program that started with a handful of volunteers has grown exponentially to include students from a wider array of backgrounds.

Tutor. Counselor. The doctor too,
Sometimes it’s hard to keep up with you.

More Articles from Rayzel Reich
Twenties-010915

This past Friday it was finally almost official. It was going to happen. Be’ezras Hashem.

Teens-Twenties-logo

The sounds and scents of the kitchen are cozy, familiar, but loud in the silence.

We had just moved to Boro Park, fresh from the DP camps. The community was new and small, but we were settling in nicely. I knew how fortunate I was to have almost my whole family survive; most had so much less. Our family was a draw for many who needed that familiar feeling of home. One Shabbos afternoon I answered the door to find one such friend and a couple I did not recognize.

I didn’t need that much garlic. After all… how much garlic, exactly, could I put into the chicken without overdoing it?

But something made me leave the white, rounded head on the counter after cracking off a few bulbs, rather than putting it back in the fridge. Maybe I’d need more.

I stare, and I stare, trying to connect to those deep, seeing, eyes, to the wisdom and depth within that face. And all I can think, murmurs sliding in a circle through my mind – is, hadras panim… hadras panim… hadras panim…

“…will the kid say, ‘Oh, I’m walking into the strange house, just like Goldilocks?! Maybe the kid will think..”

Apparently I had walked into a family discussion of the pros and cons of reading fairy tales to children.

It was Moishele, and Itche, and me. We did everything together. We even made our own language, which only we understood. In shul they jokingly called us “the troika,” after the three bishops whose authority extended across Poland.

There is a rustle as boys and girls take papers from under their chairs. Jenia (Yenya) Greenberg now Reich, and her brother Leon (Leibush) Greenberg. I look down at the paper in my hand. It is a white piece of paper; a white piece full of words. A white piece of my heart. “Yenya,” Miss […]

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/magazine/potpourri/flaming-glory/2013/03/22/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: