From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

A peal of laughter, begun by Chisdai, echoed from one end of the table to the other.

"Where are your thoughts again?" asked the Rabbi softly. "Not on his words alone, but on his thoughts, a man must place a curb. Now who can answer Chisdai's question?"

No one replied. Then Chisdai triumphantly brought forward a finely woven chain of arguments and authorities, with which he brilliantly solved the apparently insoluble problem. Baruch tried forcibly to master his wandering thoughts; with painful diligence he repeated the words of the text before him: it was all of no use; his mind unconsciously glided over the words to other subjects. He soon gave up the application afforded him by the whole discussion to his mother's history; the doubts which had arisen in him as to the eternal validity and immutability of the Law, he thought he had repressed by persuading himself that his teacher was not sufficiently learned to answer such questions, or held him as yet unworthy to partake of the tree of knowledge. Much that had been nearly erased from his memory arose within him again fresher than ever, and he was glad when he heard his fellow pupils close their great folios, and the Rabbi rise with a heavy sigh.

At home he sat down to table in silence with a feeling of general discontent. His father left him undisturbed, but Miriam looked at him inquir-