The Book of El
By Leo Heska
Based on an original story by Daniel
Munksgaard. Dramatic adaptation by permission of Daniel
Rabbi Cohen (male) (May be old or young. He is blind and crippled
in Scene 1;
later he sees and walks)
Rabbi Meyer (male)
Rabbi Lewis (male)
Old Man (this is G-d)
Offstage voices of executioner, Asherah (female), Baal (male), Osiris,
Isis (female), Marduk, Allah, Jehovah, and The Void
Optional nonspeaking parts/parts for extras:
Scene 1: students/listeners, mixed male and female
Scene 2: observers/crowd, mixed male and female
Scene 3: observers/jury, all male
Scene 4: observers, including all males from scene 3, plus
others, including females
Nonspeakers may be very simply costumed in simple work clothes or
simple robes. Since there's not much to do but sit and/or walk
offstage, this is a good way to invite stage crew, ticket
sellers, volunteers, benefactors, special guests, or anyone who wants
to, to get some stage time if they'd like it.
Scene 1 - A classroom or other meeting place.
Scene 2 - A bare stage lit like dawn, with offstage lit more
Scenes 3 and 4 - Evening prayers (note: these are held at
stage dimly lit
5 to 10 people sit listening to a rabbi (Rabbi Cohen), who is
crippled, and seated in a crude chair. It needn't be noticeable,
but Rabbi Cohen sits on a rude canvas or muslin sling with
handles. Later the others will carry him out using the sling.
As the curtain opens, Rabbi Cohen is speaking. He is concluding a
Sarah: Rabbi, I don't understand. What does
Thales, or any of these Greeks, have to do with us? We are Jews.
Rabbi Cohen: Do you suppose that our faith, our
lives, and our G-d grew from nothing, unaffected by the people and the
gods we lived with for thousands of years?
Deborah: I don't know, Rabbi. I don't see a lot
Rabbi Cohen: Because they're hidden. Thales sounds
trivial: "Big deal! An old Greek thought everything was
made out of
water". Read deeper! Think! Thales said "even the
very fire of the sun and the stars, and indeed the cosmos itself is
nourished by evaporation of the waters". Sound familiar?
Fire and Water?
Rabbi Lewitz: It's almost time, Rabbi.
Rabbi Cohen: It's not time yet, Rabbi Lewitz.
Think! Fire and water - the ancient and eternal pair. Any
ideas? (slight pause) Rabbi Meyer, the word for "Heaven"?
Rabbi Meyer: Heaven. Shamayim.
Rabbi Cohen: Shamayim. Two words. "Aish"
- Fire. "Mayim" - water. Together, aisha-mayim; say it!
Rabbi Cohen: Yes, Shamayim. Every time we speak of
heaven, we use the thoughts of
Thales of Miletus. He was more than just a thirsty pagan.
His thoughts make up the very words we use to discuss our faith.
Fire! Water! Heaven! Shamayim! The power of
heavenly water! Think of it,
and of Thales, and Shamayim, the next time you water
(He is finished).
Rabbi Lewitz: Speaking of vegetables, Rabbi, are you
Rabbi Cohen: Rabbi Lewitz, you know I'm never hungry. My
mind is fine, and needs all the nourishment it can get. My body
is battered and needs nothing. (pause) And now, brothers
and sisters, it's time to
go to the hanging. Who's still here?
Rabbi Lewitz: Rabbi, besides you, here am I, Lewitz; Rabbi
Meyer, Sarah, Deborah, and Amos..
Sarah: (to Rabbi Cohen) Rabbi, the guards are here.
Rabbi Cohen: Let's go. I will thank you to carry
(all exit, carrying Rabbi Cohen in his sling)
The stage is dimly lit, like it's
twilight or dawn.
Brighter lights shine from offstage; the action is happening offstage,
out of sight of the audience. What's happening offstage is a
When curtain opens, Rabbi Cohen is sitting on the ground, on his
sling. The others are standing; all are facing offstage, looking
at the hanging which is about to start.
Rabbi Cohen: And who will have the courage to describe to
me what is going on?
Rabbi Lewitz: I will try, Rabbi.
Deborah: I will also try, Rabbi.
Rabbi Cohen: Well?
Rabbi Lewitz: They are leading your brother, Judah, to the
gallows. Also another whose name I do not know.
Rabbi Cohen: And the guards?
Rabbi Lewitz: They're still behind us, making sure we
watch, as ordered.
Rabbi Cohen: Then, we will watch what they do to us.
And you will kindly narrate for me.
Rabbi Lewitz: They're marching Judah and Chayim to the
Rabbi Cohen: Dear Judah, only 16, I can't think of his
face, I will never think of it again...
Deborah: He should be crying.
Rabbi Cohen: I should be crying. Someone should be crying.
Executioner's voice (from offstage): The charge is
stealing scraps from the officers' garbage. The penalty is death.
Deborah: We are not crying.
Rabbi Lewitz: We are just here.
Rabbi Cohen: Like a silent, stagnant wind. (pause)
So, dear ones, please tell me what is happening?
Rabbi Lewitz: They are climbing the platform.
Deborah: The ropes are around their necks.
Rabbi Lewitz: (in agony) They are pushing them off the
platform. The bastards, they have no mercy, the drop is
Rabbi Cohen: Speak! Tell me what they do.
Rabbi Lewitz: I cannot. I cannot cry, I cannot speak.
Rabbi Cohen: Deborah?
Rabbi Cohen: Deborah, please do this for me!
Deborah: (also in agony, when she speaks, it's in a choked
rush, punctuated with pauses) They're struggling... Their
hands are at their necks, shit and piss are staining their
pants.. Their faces...
Rabbi Cohen: That I can no longer imagine...
Deborah: They're changing colors... Judah has drawn
a breath... Now he's choking again.
Rabbi Lewitz: There is no dignity. We have nothing
more to stand on than they do.
Deborah: They're fighting death. And losing.
Rabbi Cohen: As are we...
Sarah: (voice is bitterly soft and calm) Where is G-d?
Rabbi Cohen: Are they dead?
Deborah: (tonelessly) Yes, Rabbi.
Rabbi Cohen: How long has it been?
Rabbi Lewitz: Half an hour.
All gone. All dead. You are the only
Where is G-d?
(turns to Sarah, puts his hands on her shoulder,
points offstage to the gallows). (hoarse whisper) There!
except Rabbi Cohen shuffle uneasily)
Meyer: (still in hoarse whisper) He is there, on those
Cohen: (angry) I did not see G-d swinging in my
Lewitz: You are blind, Rabbi.
And you speak from anger.
Cohen: I saw G-d shove him into the void which he thrashed
Meyer: Are we at our end?
Cohen: Let us take it to its end.
What does that mean?
Cohen: We are three rabbis, the only three left, that I know
Rabbi Meyer: We rabbis
were the first to be killed...
Cohen: Tonight, an hour before evening prayers, we will put
G-d on trial.
and Sarah, along with all other women, wordlessly, straight-faced and
without dramatic gestures, turn and exit)
out - curtain)
night) (Note: in some congregations, "evening" prayers are held
late, well after sunset)
Rabbi Cohen: We are gathered together
tonight to put G-d on trial. Who is here?
Rabbi Lewitz: You, Rabbi Cohen, I, Lewitz,
Rabbi Meyer, Amos, and some others.
Cohen: You name no women.
Meyer: None of the women would stand for this,
Cohen: Rabbi Lewitz, will you read the charges?
Lewitz: We charge the Lord G-d, the G-d of our ancestors,
with the following crimes:
(Note: the list is supposed to be long. You may add to it
at your discretion)
The charges have been read. Let he who
may answer, come forth!
and punishment of the innocent.
Supporting, creating, enabling, and rewarding evil.
Rabbi Lewitz: No thunder.
Rabbi Meyer: No death.
Rabbi Cohen: No guards.
(An old man steps forward. This is G-d.)
(all look at him, except Rabbi Cohen, still blind)
(all who have shoes remove them)(make this shoe removal obvious to the
not too overly dramatic)
(narrating to Rabbi Cohen, as he did at the
hanging) It is an old man; one I have never seen before. He
is ancient; he bears even more scars than wrinkles. He is hunched over.
Old Man: Kept
down for countless years.
Rabbi Lewitz: There
are marks as deep as rivers in his face. He is crying.
Rabbi Meyer: (To the Old Man) (more a formality than a
question) Who are you?
Old Man: (voice is weak but steady) I am that I am.
(He spits.) Whatever that
(Rabbi Meyer falls to his knees; all others remain standing)
Rabbi Lewitz: (to Rabbi Cohen) Rabbi, he is stronger, but
crying harder. And Rabbi, a small patch of grass has grown where
his tears fell! It grows and spreads!
Rabbi Cohen: Give me a tuft of that grass. (Rabbi
Lewitz does so.)
(Grass may be pantomimed, or Rabbi Lewitz or Rabbi Cohen may pull
some from a sleeve.)
(Rabbi Cohen smells the grass, touches it to his eyes, eats it.
He stands up, and looks at El. He is no longer blind or crippled.)
Rabbi Meyer: Then are you the G-d of our
ancestors? The G-d of David, Moses, and Abraham?
Old Man: I
am indeed the G-d of your ancestors. I am the G-d of David, the
G-d of Moses. But Abraham? (face crumples) That ... is difficult
to say. It would require much time.
Rabbi Lewitz: (Holds out his hands to El) Of all the
things you could give
us, time would be most appreciated.
Rabbi Cohen: (Looking straight at El)(his voice is
dead) And answers.
Old Man: (musing) Time
and answers. (Sits down, stares at Rabbi Cohen's bare feet.)
These things may be all I have left. (Looks up at Rabbi Cohen's
eyes, returning his gaze) But I shall give them to you.
I do not know what was in the beginning; I was not there. I know that
El was, but El never quite explained what had happened to put
you see, was one of the first. He and others whose names are
unimportant shaped the chaos, formed
and made the peoples. I know that El took two people for his own,
against the wishes of the others, put them in a fertile place, fed them
Life and Knowledge, and protected them.
others feared these people, tried to make sure they
could never gain more Knowledge and Life, and sought to kill
them, first with giants they had created, and then with a great
flood. So El created me to slay the giants, and he asked his
wife, Asherah, to
save his people from the water. Asherah gave birth to Baal, god
of the rain, and told him to take control of the weather and stop the
flood. Together Asherah and Baal blessed the survivors with
and fertile wombs. And together the four of us watched over these
When El saw it was time, he approaced these people and promised one of
them eternal bounty and
protection, because his people were El's creation, and he loved them.
they were indeed blessed and became plentiful, for a time. But
then Baal grew sick, and Asherah grew barren. The earth of El's people
became dry, and they began to starve. El feared for their lives, and
gave some to Baal to watch over, hoping that their devotion would make
Baal well. He sent the rest to Egypt, where his friend and fellow
shaper, Osiris, promised to protect them until Baal was well and
Asherah was no longer barren.
As time went on, El could hear
nothing of Osiris or of his people in Egypt. Then Osiris's wife
Isis told us horrible news: Osiris had been slain by Set, his
dark brother of night
and pestilence, and El's people were now enslaved by the
Egyptians. Then the barriers that kept El from his people
and we could hear their screams and cries for freedom.
Baal arose from his sickness and
wept, and the land of El's people was once again fertile. El
stood frozen for a long time, unable to think or move, drowned by the
cries of his people. Only Asherah remained calm, and she
Asherah: (from offstage)
gather your strength and travel to Egypt. Even now, Isis seeks the
pieces of her husband, and when he is reassembled he will need your
help to defeat Set.
Old Man: El
agreed, and went to Egypt to bargain with Set, to
distract Set from Isis' plan. Knowing Set was treacherous, he
took me as his guard. Set was waiting. "We
have no quarrel with you, god of Night," El began to say. But Set
descended upon El as a flock of jackals,
tearing him limb from limb with a fury and speed that terrified me. Now
stood frozen in horror, unable to act, paralyzed with shock and fear.
After El finally fell to the ground, unable to offer the
slightest defense, the thousand jackals of Set smiled gruesomely at me,
El's flesh mixed with their bile. Then, they vanished into the
took hold of El, cradling his battered head in my lap, and wept
for my Father and Friend. And he opened his eyes, eyes that shone like
the heart of a star, and begged me to save his people. My people. He
told me they were my people now.
then he died.
took him back to the land of our people and buried him, and a
great sea sprang from the hole I dug for his body. In my sadness
at El's death, I named it
the Dead Sea. I drank of its waters, and for one
brief instant, I thought I could hear El again, whispering wisdom into
my ears. I then promised the sea that his people -
my people - would come and settle by this sea, and gain life from El's
grief-stricken, insisted (Baal finishes this sentence)
Baal: (from offstage)
Stay in Egypt to help guard your people that are still here, the
people that El placed in my charge.
Old Man: I refused.
(Turns to speak back to Baal's voice offstage). You have your
people, now I have mine.
Old Man: (Speaking again
to Rabbi Cohen and the other rabbis) Then I heard the voice of one of
my people who had
escaped from Egypt, and I flew to his side, appearing as a burning
bush. He asked my name, and I declared that I was the G-d of his
ancestors. This was not enough for this man; he demanded a name.
told him, "I am that I am", which made him immediately
"Are you El, the G-d of my fathers?" he asked again.
am that I am," I repeated, "and I will free your people." This
was enough for him; I don't think he cared who I was,
as he believed El to have failed him and his people. He journeyed
to Egypt to serve as my messenger and I flew ahead of him, fire
in my throat, vengeance for my dead Father and Friend my only goal.
appeared as a great tempest, demanding
that Set show his jackal's face. Set was already fleeing Isis, and
Osiris, who Isis had brought back from the dead, and allied with
Ra, god of the sun. Set panicked and ran into my fury, and I
struck him again and again
with all of my force, ramming down his doggish throat pillars of flame
and lightning, ripping his scaly flesh and devouring him from his
insides. He died horribly and painfully inside my fury, and I absorbed
his essence and power.
with the power of Set, I encouraged the
wanderer to challenge the Egyptians for my people's
release. I believed I knew El's wishes, my
was swimming with the wisdom of the Dead Sea and the corruption of
Set, and I lashed out in anger at Osiris, Isis, and Ra. They
begged me (other gods finish this sentence)
offstage) Let us release your people gradually.
offstage) My people will not give up yours immediately.
Give them time.
Old Man: (speaking to the
gods offstage) No! I refuse! (Speaking again to Rabbi
Cohen and the other rabbis) Using the powers I got from Set, I
ravaged their lands with plague, famine, locusts, and frogs. They
submitted and tried to tell their people to let mine go. But my
vengeance burned against their people, and I hardened
the hearts, and turned their water to blood and slayed their firstborn
Then my messenger screamed out to me, asking me to put
my anger aside and lead my people out instead of putting
them in further danger by angering the Egyptians. The waters of El, my
Father and Friend, calmed me, and I relented. My people gathered
themselves together quickly, and we set out for our home.
the way, I tried to recall the wisdom I had heard whispered
from the Dead Sea, and told my messenger to write the wisdom down while
I could still hear it, so that El's people might go the way he had
intended. But a fit of vanity welled up from a new, dark part of
being, and I demanded that my people recognize no other power but me,
and pay glory to me alone.
brother Baal must have gotten word of this, for as my people marched
towards our land, he called me from a distance.
Baal: (Nervously, from
offstage) Brother! The power of our father truly exists
within you now,
but you still lack his wisdom. Look at all the people you bring with
you! You have hardened their hearts towards our people, those who would
me and my mother and pay us homage. Yet you wish for your people
to settle amongst ours. They would quickly fall upon each other.
Therefore, I give you the land next to the sea of our dead
father, and I beg that you don't ask for more.
Old Man: This
angered me greatly, and I struck my brother down, saying, (turns
and speaks back to Baal's voice offstage) This
land is for the people of El, the people our father told me to rescue
and bring here. Your people are not mine, and are therefore not the
people of El. Leave this land, or we will take it from you.
Old Man: (speaking again
to Rabbi Cohen and the other rabbis) Baal
refused, and the rage of Set burned away the wisdom of my
Father and Friend, and I sent my people in full arms against the people
of Baal. I had always been a G-d of war, so Baal's people did not stand
well against my onslaught, and many cities quickly fell. But Baal
Asherah still controlled the fertile land, and where my people settled,
there were no crops, and the rain did not fall. Many of my people
homage to my brother and stepmother for fear of starving.
This angered me greatly, so I called forth a speaker from my people,
and told him to
challenge the priests of Baal. My prophet stood atop a mountain,
and as Baal's priests gathered around, I saw Baal looking over
And as Baal became distracted by their calls, I lashed out from behind,
sending him sprawling on the sand. I drank my brother's power, gaining
control over the elements, the weather, and the land. Only the wisdom
of El, which had been sprinkled over the rocks by my brother's priests,
kept me from killing him.
I set my people on those priests, and they tore them limb from
limb. Crippled, bleeding, Baal was unable to protect his followers. He
could only curse me, and call to his mother for help. She appeared next
to him, helped him up, and began to walk away without looking at me.
called out to my stepmother, "If you take him with you, you
betray both me and my father." And she looked back at me with cold
eyes, and spat, "Then I betray you." She and Baal then merged together,
and I named them Adversary. And the Adversary glowered at me, an
unspoken promise in its eyes, and left.
For centuries I searched my people and culled those who worshipped my
lost brother and stepmother, threatening them with my
wrath. All the while I hunted for Adversary. Soon I
found other gods watching me, whispering. At first I thought they
me, and I ignored them. But then they began
to circle around me. So slowly that decades would pass between
steps, they closed in tightly
together, until all I could see was a wall of gods and
Panicked, I tried to warn my people, but the prophets I sent became
confused, saw visions that made no sense to their leaders,
and frightened my people. I was certain that it was my Adversary
stirring the gods against me, and I called for my brother and
stepmother to show themselves. But all I heard was the laughter
Then the Assyrians struck, dispersing my people and carrying them away
from me, behind
the wall of gods where I could not follow them. I never heard
most of them again. I
embraced what was left of them tightly, fearfully. I begged
the gods' mercy. A Babylonian god named Marduk answered (Marduk finishes this sentence)
offstage) Mercy? What do you know of
mercy, son of El, he who would murder his brother and stepmother?
Old Man: (addressing
Rabbi Cohen and the others) I no longer wanted mercy, but
vengeance. (replying to Marduk offstage) Where
are they? Show them to me!
Old Man: (addressing
Rabbi Cohen and the others)
Then the Babylonian gods descended upon me. They whipped me, gouged out
one of my eyes, and tore off my foot. They carried what was left of my
people to their lands, and left me to wallow in the dirt next to the
surrounding gods then started to fall
upon each other. The Babylonian gods were defeated by the Persian
of light, who allowed my people to return on the condition that I be
chained in a desert beyond the reach of the Dead Sea, barely able to
hear the voices of my people scattered in other lands. And
there I languished for centuries, laughed at by the gods around
me. The Greek gods swept through my lands, mocking and spitting
Isis came to me in my misery; most of her fellow
Egyptian gods had fallen, but she survived with the Roman gods, who
ruled now. She somehow
knew that my brother and stepmother had arranged my fate. She was
glad of it. She gouged out my other eye, and left me to my
Soon after, I heard the voice of El calling
out to me, begging me to answer. At first I thought it was just the
first sign of my coming death, or my growing insanity. But as I
strained to listen, I realized it was one of my people, calling
out from the waters of my dead Father and Friend, the wisdom of El
filling him. I sent a dove as a messenger, asking him
to come to me in the desert. After forty days and nights, he found me,
and washed my broken body with the water of El, and I could see
I then gave him the wisdom of El that I held, as well as some of my
power. I whispered a plan to him, telling him he'd die painfully, and
he recoiled, afraid. But after
some thought, he agreed, and left to wander the land of my people,
leaving tracks of power in his wake.
He did die painfully. But as
the power I had given him left him, it descended upon his followers.
And I whispered into their minds, telling them to walk the lands of the
other gods, leaving my power in their wake. Some trailed the power over
the sea, others over the desert. And I took a web of power from the
sea, sprinkled the water of my dead Father and Friend over it, and
commanded it to rise. What emerged was a towering, powerful mirror of
my younger face, and I named him Jehovah. He shattered my chains, and
as he continued to grow in strength, stretching out across the land
of the Romans, I gave him his mission: destroy the other gods, and to
hunt down my Adversary. I then took the web of power from the
desert, gave some to a merchant
from Mecca, and commanded Allah to rise forth with the same mission.
Then I watched in glee as first the gods
of the Romans and Arabs, then those that lay beyond, fell to my
creations. But they failed to find my Adversary, and in my
anger I drove them further, paying little attention to the cries of my
who were being turned upon by the followers of my creations. But
their cries reached me.
I traveled to see Allah. I was
surprised when he barely acknowledged me, my orders for him to listen
he treated like gnats. For centuries I beseeched him, growing all the
more frantic and aware of my own weakened state. Finally, with a great
show of impatience, he promised to go about protecting my people. But
he looked across the sea with a
troubled face, and said to me (Allah finishes this sentence)
Allah: (from offstage) I
do not know why you trouble me, when
it seems you should be more concerned with my brother.
Old Man: And
it was when he mentioned Jehovah that my heart went cold. For
when I looked across the sea, I saw something that no
longer looked anything like my son. He was bloated on the power of the
gods he had slain, and his face shifted with a chaos that reminded me
of El's stories of creation. I asked after my people, and he
responded with a thousand answers that blended into gibberish. And then
I heard the screaming.
first, it was only in a few isolated places, but then it became
louder, more unified. Entire communities of my people would scream at
once, then fall silent.
have you done?" I asked my son. At first he said nothing, but
then he began to writhe, and a
trail of black boils appeared across his body, and he clawed at them
and screamed (Jehovah finishes this sentence)
offstage) What have I done? What have you done to me? Look at what is happening
Old Man: His
screams grew louder, and I saw masses of people in his lands,
both his followers and mine, become covered with similar boils and drop
to the ground. Enraged, Jehovah pointed at me, yelling,
Jehovah: (from offstage)
You did this!
Old Man: And his
followers turned on my own, screaming the same words. And the
cries of death that reached my ears almost drowned me. I hid behind
Allah, who now looked more terrified than worried.
boils vanished, but Jehovah grew darker. The faces of the
gods and goddesses he had slain began to sprout from his body, which
began to twist and turn, corruption sprouting throughout it.
Other Gods: (from
offstage) (using as much of a stage whisper, or hoarse voice, as
possible) You. You did this to us.
Old Man: And
as I looked at their faces, I saw something that should have
brought me joy, but instead blackened my heart. "Adversary?" I
Other Gods: (from
offstage) (voices rising to a shout) Adversary? You
are the Adversary!"
Old Man: A thousand
fingers pointed at me. And
all of the faces collapsed into a whirling Void, a Void which
slowly drowned out all the voices of the gods trapped inside. And after
centuries, only the
tortured voice of Jehovah remained.
My people noticed none of this. My
warnings were drowned out along with all the other voices in the
Void. My people knew only that the
followers of Jehovah had left them alone for some time now.
could look into the Void. Inside it, I saw things previously
unknown to the world - strange machines and lights that were not a part
of creation. The Void
spread across the ocean, swallowing the spirits that guided the people
of those lands, and the mysterious machines within the Void began to be
upon the people. Wars beyond any I had ever seen or imagined were
and people died by the millions. Still, my followers remained
unalarmed. "My people," I whispered.
Voice of the Void: (from
offstage)(in a strange, knowing voice) Your
Old Man: It was a voice I
never heard before, yet it spoke as if it knew me well. This was no
longer my creation, Jehovah, whose voice was now nothing but a
shrank back, leaving me to its mercy. It wrapped its dark
tentacles around me, and through the screams of chaos, I saw horrors
beyond my imagination being inflicted on my people.
(Old Man motions to the
listeners, indicates that he's referring to them)
the Void said (Voice of the Void finishes this sentence)
Voice of the Void: (from
(Old Man begins to openly sob, throws himself at Rabbi Cohen's feet)
Old Man: I could do
nothing, and it was all my fault!
wanted only revenge, and I forgot the people I was supposed to
forgot about you. You, who never really forgot me, even though it
not me, but the wisdom of El, that you truly remembered.
Rabbi Lewitz: His
tears are now a flood! Rabbi! And fruit, real, fresh fruit,
springing up from this barren, worthless dirt!
Rabbi Cohen: Yes, I can see now. My stomach is
rumbling. I'm hungry.
(Old Man picks up fruit and hands it to Rabbi Cohen)
Old Man: Eat. I have
given you time and answers, and now all I can give you is food, food
nourished from the water of my tears.
(Rabbi Cohen takes the fruit and devours it madly.)(Soft ripe pears are
good for this, or pantomime.)
Rabbi Cohen: (while stuffing his face) Here I am madly
devouring fruit like an animal. Yet I
feel wisdom flow through me. And I understand.
(Old Man nods.)
Old Man: The wisdom of El has almost left me.
Rabbi Cohen: But it is still in your tears.
(Old Man nods again, and raises his hunched body as high as he can.)
Old Man: And now you have the wisdom
to judge me.
(Rabbi Meyer is looking at the old man curiously.)
Rabbi Cohen: Amos, Rabbi Lewitz, you want me to kill
him. I know. (Amos and Rabbi Lewitz shake with rage, barely
containing themselves, unable to speak.)
(Rabbi Cohen turns to Old Man)
Rabbi Cohen: I charge you, son of El. I charge you
with cruelty and betrayal. You have broken the laws passed down to us
by our fathers, and you have betrayed the spirit of El. You know what
you deserve, by your own interpretations of El's wisdom.
(Old Man nods again.) (Old Man looks more relieved than frightened.)
Rabbi Lewitz: You look more relieved than frightened.
(Old Man nods again.)
(All stand ready.)
Rabbi Cohen: (addressing everyone except the Old
Man) All ready?
Rabbi Cohen: (Turns to Rabbi Meyer, and addressing him:)
Rabbi Meyer: I understand.
(All except Old Man solemnly get up to leave.)
Old Man: Where are you going?
Rabbi Cohen: To evening prayers.
(Rabbi Cohen kneels to the ground, bows low to the Old Man, then
follows the others offstage, into the night.)
Author: Leo Heska
Based on an original story by Daniel Munksgaard
Dramatic adaptation by permission of Daniel Munksgaard
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