Page:Auerbach-Spinozanovel.djvu/30

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8
SPINOZA.

might feel my foot also. I tell thee it is a shame that thy father should have taken thee away with him just on that day. I saw him, when all the rest were gone, rise, and go back into the synagogue; he tore the holy chest furiously open, and gazed long on the scroll of laws, till the sexton reminded him to go. "Are the gates of heaven again opened to me?" he asked—and he seemed to me to laugh scornfully. He wrapped himself in his mantle and sneaked home. The ways of God are just! He has fallen into the pit which he digged for others. Thus must all such perish: he is lost both here and there." Chisdai glanced at his teacher to read in his looks the approval of his holy zeal; he, however, shook his head thoughtfully, and repeated the prayer before him quietly.

Baruch had twice opened his mouth to answer his schoolfellow, but fearing to express his pity for the sinner's fate too warmly, he had remained silent. Now when he perceived the displeasure of his teacher, he said, "Thou dost not appear to imitate the Rabbi Myer's wife," alluding to a narrative in the Talmud in which the woman changed the word sinner in Ps. civ. 35, "Let the sinners be consumed out of the earth, and let the wicked be no more," into sins and continued, "for there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good and sinneth not" (Ec. vii. 20).