As I have noted before, I am a philo-semite. I respect and admire the Jews both for their intellectual and ethical contributions to Western civilization, and for their dogged determination in the face of overwhelming odds.
Several nights ago I had a dream in which I was being given a tour of a museum of Judaism by Dymphna’s Jewish cousins. A young boy led me from case to case and translated the inscriptions for me, which were entirely in Hebrew.
After I repeatedly expressed my admiration for all things Jewish, the boy’s father asked me, “Since you like the Jews so much, why don’t you convert?”
I replied, “I have a friend who is an accomplished fisherman. I go with him to the river; I watch him fish; I help him clean and eat the fish he catches; I acknowledge and proclaim his skill to others; but I don’t have to fish with him.
“I am a blacksmith, and blacksmiths don’t fish.”
Make of it what you will. I’m not very good at interpreting dreams.
This post deserves a comment, even if I haven’t yet formulated it. There is something quite profound in the image of the blacksmith and the fisherman; still, its deeper meanings only lurk now in the penumbra of my consciousness.
Me, too! I know it means something, but I don’t know exactly what. Dymphna thinks the fisherman stands for Christ, but that doesn’t make any logical sense…
The dream reminded me of an old saying “A cobbler should stick to his last.” It’s an unnecessary leap from respect and admiration to conversion. I admire women for what they uniquely contribute to the human condition, but I won’t become one…
Good point. For similar reasons, I won’t become a concert pianist.
A story for philo-semites which I read in the Joy of Yiddish:
Two businessmen on a train struck up a conversation. After introducing each other, one said, “Your name sounds Jewish. Are you a Jew?”
“Yes,” replied the other.
“Well, I am proud to say that in my little town there are no Jews at all.”
“And that’s why it will remain a little town,” was the retort.
Of course, the book told it far, far better. (The book is a goldmine of stories, wit and wisdom. If possible, buy an older, used edition. I have it on good authority that PC editors have “cleaned up” the current edition.)