Aunt Aziza is about to die and needs to be taught to read • A short story by author Gabriel Ben Simhon especially for "Israel Today" surfers
queen of England
She was eighty-five when she was in a serious illness, and the doctor gave her no more than a month to live.
I wanted to give her a parting gift, and when I thought about what the best gift I could give her, I came to her head to teach her literacy.
Is it a little funny, at eighty-five? A month before the end? It's funny too because Aunt Aziza is the one who took me to the village when I was six for my first day of first grade and I'm now fourteen in eighth grade and want to teach her first grade? But that's what I got and that's how I started visiting her every day at the hospital teaching her to read and write.
I had a pity that she had no opportunity in her life to read books, because in the village where most women were born, they lived by the Talmudic laws, which said that "everyone who teaches his home Torah as if she taught prostitution." Very quickly, after two or three sessions, she took over AB and started reading. The first thing she read was the love letters she received in her youth from her suitor, Berto, who later became her husband, whom she kept under the pillow. And when she first read them now, she felt as if he, Berto's beloved husband, who had passed away in the meantime, was sending it away again.
When she could get out of bed and get out a little, she was glad to read the names of the streets, the signs on the shops, the ads on the walls, the traffic signs. I enjoyed seeing her make a new connection with the world, as if she had been given a thousand eyes. Where was all this? And where was she? Like all the women of her native village, she knew only what she heard by word of mouth, proverbs, lamentations, songs. She loved to sing and dance and of course cook royal delicacies for her husband, who for the most part called her 'Queen of England'.
All this she brought to the rank of art, and in that she was really a world cultural treasure, but everything that was written was gone. True, she had a television set at home and a radio that were open all day but that dulled her because they were repeating themselves. When the parents heard what I was doing to the aunt they smiled to themselves, they thought a bouquet of flowers or a box of chocolates would be more appropriate, but they didn't bother me.
Very quickly she learned to read easily and quickly as if she was used to it from childhood, and I was excited by the thought of bringing her a book.
Because she did not have much time to live and would not read more than number one, I thought quite a bit about which book to bring her, what book you should spend as little time as she had to live.
Dad immediately recommended the Zohar book, "because it is the most beautiful book in the world, all the books are there, and it will bring her complete medicine," Mama, however, recommended a book that was just finished reading "Anna Karenina," "because it is the most true book about love. ", The friends I told laughed at me and asked if I had nothing to do, that" there are enough TV series and it's a shame to spend time on books. "
I did not know my parents' books and did not watch TV series, and after a while I came to the conclusion that the Bible was the most appropriate book, but I knew immediately that in the last week of her life she would not have read all the twenty-four books in the Bible, including what she needed right now. And the Ecclesiastes and the Prophets of Destruction, and I immediately decided to pick only one of the twenty-four, the "Song of Songs," and even then because the disease did not let go of her and her condition was getting worse.
I did not know if you would read all the scroll or just one chapter, and if so which chapter, and maybe - God forbid - you would not have more than one verse, and then ask which verse to choose. I thought a lot about the most beautiful verse in "Song of Songs" and it was hard to decide, because every verse is an unparalleled gem.
When I visited her to give her the verse I chose, she was very pale, her eyes half closed and she was almost dying, and for fear of her life I sat by her bed in the hospital room and whispered into her the most beautiful verse in the Bible, and perhaps the most beautiful verse written by man :
"This is your floor resembling Tamar / And your breasts for clusters / I said I'll go up to Tamar / Hold Sansanyo / And please be like the vine clusters / And your nose smells like apples" ...
As soon as she heard the verse, she opened her eyes and toothless mouth with a smile that lit up the whole room, she just beamed and as if her youth returned and the beautiful Barto boy from the village came back to her and they were looking for a corner to settle down and whisper just under the window of a granny who wakes up, recognizes them, spills them A bucket of water and smuggling them into the gutters of their home.
The verse opened a window to her days of youth and love, and she sat up in an upright, smiling bed and read the entire scroll with me from start to finish.
Now I was wondering what book to bring her after "Song of Songs," if you could just read it? Mother insisted that "Anna Karenina" is the most appropriate book and told me its contents, but I thought the story was too painful, Aunt Aziza suffered enough, children did not have her and her beloved husband lost years ago. So I brought her the book I love best, the first one I read after the Bible - "Don Quixote," to my delight I saw her laugh and life let her finish the book.
I rushed before dying to bring her another book I liked, Pinocchio, and she was, most of the surprise, kept alive, as if to read the rest of my favorite books, "Robinson Crusoe," "Headless Horseman," and "The Last Mohican." Afterwards she was happy to read "Red Riding Hood" followed by "Ido and the Sea" and "Alice in Wonderland".
On her visits we talked about the characters and she was passionate about analyzing and interpreting. Slowly the color returned to her cheeks, the wrinkles disappeared and life returned to her eyes, and instead of withering and dying of joy returned to her dorm.
She had already read "The Pooh Bear" while sitting on a recliner in her home garden, slowly the television was silenced and the radio stopped and the shelves in her room filled with books.
On her subsequent visits home, I found her reading books I did not know at all, Bukachu's Decameron, UNESCO rhinos, Kami's "thing", Kafka's "trial", Pinchas Sadeh's "life as a parable," Jonah Wallach's "Unconscious Opening" and Garcia Marx's "Love in Cholera".
Now, on her last visit to her home, I found her sitting at the table in her room writing her life story.
From "The Book of My Love," a novel in Scripture
Dedicated to the appreciation of Dr. Adva Cliff Genius
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