Yitzok L. Peretz
AS SEEN IN:
'Play Of The Week'
("The World Of Sholom Aleichem")
Earth Prime-Time & the After-Life
From The Ohr Torah Stone website:
Isaac L. Peretz, one of the most profound and beloved of Yiddish - Hebrew writers of the last century, authored a magnificent tale called Bontche Schweig, or Bontche the Silent, which illuminates the significance of these words.
The story recounts a heavenly tribunal which judges Bonche, a newly arrived soul who had lived a poverty-stricken pogrom-tortured life with never having uttered a word against G-d or a word against any human being. The defense-attorney angel catalogued his life of super-human piety with great pathos, and even the prosecuting-attorney angel could not express a negative note against this suffering, saintly soul. The Almighty Himself then summons Bontche, expressing His inability (as it were) to properly reward such an exemplary life and offering to grant whatever reward Bontche will choose. "Really?, asks Bontche, 'takeh?' 'Really, takeh!,' responds G-d. 'Then every morning please give me a fresh, hot roll and butter,' requests Bontche.
The last lines of the tale are the most poignant and instructive. "The defense-attorney angel hid his face in shame. The prosecuting-attorney angel smiled a bitterly mordant smile of triumph. And the Almighty G-d wept..." Obviously Peretz's message is that the greatest tragedy of suffering, the worst fall-out of an unjust world, is that it robs its victims of the ability to dream, it makes it impossible for them to have the breadth of vision to even contemplate the possibility of redemption. Poor Bontche. The evil world had so constricted his imagination that the best he could conjure up for himself and for humanity was a hot roll and butter each morning!