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Fiction Corner: The Scar

Kobi Levy

“They talk to Somebody Up There? How? Who’s up there, anyway?” I was almost fainting from curiosity. “How can you talk to clouds or stars? Can they hear you?”

Wednesday, June 06, 2018

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T o this day, the old people on Moshav Beit Halevi talk about the time that little Daviko, the beloved only son of Sofi the Nudnik, tried to hammer a horseshoe onto Pochino.

Chapter 1

Pochino was the huge horse that transported Varsano the bread seller’s wares throughout our moshav; he was a daily fixture on the moshav, bringing hot fresh loaves to our homes, no matter what the weather, with a tinny bell and plaintive call of, “White bread, dark bread, don’t forget to pay.”

 Pochino may have needed iron horseshoes, but he wasn’t pleased with the idea of a little boy hammering his hooves. The grumpy horse gave a mighty kick that landed right in Daviko’s face.

Daviko was eight years old at the time, and six or seven of his front teeth went flying, and his lips and cheeks were torn and all knocked out of shape. He almost died.

The way I remember it, I was eight or nine years old when Daviko’s father Aharoniko, who oversaw the citrus orchard, met Varsano across from the dairy. As Daviko’s best friend, I was anxious to hear an update on his condition, so I listened carefully to their exchange.

“How is the boy doing?” Varsano asked, pulling on his mustache.

“What can I say? He could have died, but he’s alive.”

“For sure he could have died. Anyone who tries to shoe a crazy horse like my Pochino has to consider the risks,” Varsano said, pushing away his guilty feelings.

“The adukim are praying for him, Sofi tells me,” said Aharoniko.

“The adukim? Where did Sofi find adukim?”

“She found them in the hospitals in Tel Aviv. They live in Bnei Brak, you know. They come to the hospitals, light candles, put on a whole show. We had a few like that back in Bulgaria, remember?”

“Yes,” Varsano agreed. “But since when is Sofi using their services for Daviko? What happened, are you turning religious?”

“No, not us. We can’t even find one aduk in our family to pray for Daviko… but if they come on their own, let them come. I have no objection.”

That was the first time I heard the word adukim, and it sounded very mysterious to my eight-or-nine-year-old ears. The verb “praying” also confused me. When Aharoniko faded out of sight, I tapped Varsano on his waist — that was about as high as I could reach.

“Mr. Varsano,” I said, “what’s this about adukim? What are adukim, and what are they doing to Daviko?”

“Ha,” he laughed, and let go of his mustache. “Adukim are those people who wear black coats, you know, and white shirts, and they have strings hanging from their waists, and they talk to Somebody Up There” — he nodded toward the sky — “about Daviko, that he should get well, because you know, he almost got his head knocked off when Pochino kicked him.”

“They talk to Somebody Up There? How? Who’s up there, anyway?” I was almost fainting from curiosity. “How can you talk to clouds or stars? Can they hear you?”

Varsano pulled out his money box and started counting the coins. “Adukim are religious people; they talk to the Borei Olam, get it?”

I didn’t. Those terms weren’t part of the lexicon on the moshav. (Excerpted from Mishpacha, Issue 713)



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