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Sholom Secunda’s If Not Higher is a musical dramatization of one of Isaac Leyb Peretz’s most famous short stories, “Oyb nit nokh hekher.” This story also forms. IF NOT HIGHER. And the Rebbe of Nemirov, every Friday morning early at Sliches-time, disappeared, melted into thin air! He was not to be. If Not Higher by I.L. Peretz. Taken from Jewish Short Stories from Eastern Europe and Beyond, a 10 CD set available from our store at.

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And the Rebbe of Nemirov, every Friday morning early at Sliches-time, disappeared, melted into thin air! He was not to be found anywhere, either in the synagogue or in the two houses-of-study, or worshipping in some Minyan, and most certainly not at home. His door stood open, people went in and out as they pleased—no one ever stole anything from the Rebbe—but there was not a soul in the house. Jews no evil eye! So thought the people. Once, however, there came a Lithuanian—and he laughed!

You know the Lithuanian Jews—they rather despise books of devotion, but stuff themselves with the Talmud and the codes. Well, the Lithuanian points out a special bit of the Gemoreh—and hopes it is plain enough: He intends to stay there all night to find out where the Rebbe goes, and what he does at Sliches-time.

Another in his place would have dozed and slept the time away. Not so a Lithuanian—he learned a whole treatise of the Talmud by heart! The Rebbe has been awake some time. The Lithuanian has heard him sighing and groaning for a whole hour. Whoever has heard the groaning of the Nemirover Rebbe knows what sorrow for All-Israel, what distress of mind, found voice in every groan.


The soul that heard was dissolved in grief. But the heart of a Lithuanian is of cast-iron. The Lithuanian hears and lies still. The Rebbe lies still, too—the Rebbe, long life to him, upon the bed and the Lithuanian under the bed! After that the Lithuanian hears the beds in the house squeak—the people jump out of them—a Jewish word is spoken now and again—water is poured on the fingers—a door is opened here and there. Then the people leave the house, once more it is quiet and dark, only a very little moonlight comes in through the shutter.

My Notes – An Education Material Portal For Students, Teachers and Researchers: IF NOT HIGHER

He confessed afterwards, did the Lithuanian, that when he found himself alone with the Rebbe terror took hold of him. He grew cold all over, and the roots of his ear-locks pricked i.l.peretz temples like needles. An excellent joke, to be left alone with the Rebbe at Sliches-time before dawn! First he does what beseems a Jew.

“If Not Higher:” Discovering Jewish Values Through Yiddish Literature

Then he goes to the wardrobe and takes out a packet—which proves to be the dress of a peasant: The Rebbe puts them on. On his way out the Rebbe steps aside into the kitchen, stoops, takes a hatchet from under a bed, puts it into his belt, and leaves the house.

The Lithuanian trembles, but highre persists. A fearful, Solemn-Day hush broods over the dark streets, broken not unfrequently by a cry of supplication from some little Minyan, or the moan of some sick person behind a window.

He glides from one to the other, the Lithuanian after him.

And the Lithuanian hears the sound of his own heart-beats mingle with the heavy footfall of the Rebbe; but he follows on, and together they emerge from the town. Behind the town stands a little wood.


The Rebbe, long life to him, enters it.

He walks on thirty or forty paces, and then he stops beside a small tree. And the Lithuanian, with amaze, sees the Rebbe take his hatchet and strike the tree. He sees the Rebbe strike blow after blow, he hears the tree creak and snap. And the little tree falls, and the Rebbe splits it up into logs, and the i.l.peeretz into splinters.

Then he makes a bundle, binds it round with the cord, throws noy on his shoulder, vy the hatchet in his belt, leaves the wood, and goes back into the town. In one of the back streets he stops beside a poor, tumbledown little house, and taps at the window. The Lithuanian knows it to be the voice of a Jewess, a sick Jewess. And the Rebbe answers again in the Little-Russian speech:.

And without i.k.peretz ado he goes in. The Lithuanian steals in behind him, and sees, in the gray light of dawn, a poor room with poor, broken furniture. And you, i.l.pereetz have such a great and mighty God, and you do not trust Him! Then, when the stove was alight, and the wood crackled cheerily, he repeated, more gaily, the second part of Sliches. He repeated the third part when the fire had burnt itself out, and he shut the stove doors….

And later, when anyone told how the Rebbe early every morning at Sliches-time raised himself and flew up into heaven, the Lithuanian, instead of laughing, added quietly:.

Perets Bontsha the Silent pdf.