Russia after 1917 revolution: Young Aaron Hittin is a religious Jewish youth, who studies to be a Rabbi. A year after his marriage to Ester she commits suicide, being distressed and horrified, having borne a baby who is lacking hands!…The Rabbi remains with the child. His friend who is his late wife’s brother, who deserted religion and became Stalin’s follower, helps him by sending his sweetheart, young social worker Natalya, to support the Rabbi to raise the cripple child…However- Natalya is a follower of Trotsky - Stalin’s enemy, and after a short while her lover Elya betrays her, exactly while the poor Rabbi begins to fall in love with her. But then Natalya is arrested by Gepau (secret police), brought into a ‘show trial’ and sent to Siberia. After two years in prison-camp she is released, and marries Rabbi Aaron. . . But the Gepau buddies humiliate and prosecute the Rabbi, who appeals to Stalin to let him and his family get out of the country, because the atheist regime has broken down his small congregation...Antonov- Head of Gepau in town- is Rabbi’s enemy because of his stubborness. He causes many troubles to the Rabbi, and at last he abducts his deformed child from the Rabbi, who wants to educate the boy at home as a God Believer. The Rabbi seems to have become mad because of that act. Only his cripple child, who is taken from him, knows that he fakes madness. His wife Natalya is frustrated, because he hides the truth from her, suspecting that she would be antagonize this dangerous act. She may try to avoid it, even by handing his faked madness to Gepau, that will punish him- but at last she will have the Rabbi back at home, even the child is taken from him.... Rabbi is brought into an asylum, where he suffers for more than a year from starvation, tortured by electric shocker and facing many queer inquiries, because the communists consistently suspect him to be sane…In his willingly imprisonment he meets other insane pretenders - as well as true, real mads: Their suffering is described here in a grotesque, humoristic and passionate way...Despite his suffer, the Rabbi succeeds to survive in his disguise. After more than a year in asylum - his wife finds his sister’s address in Brooklyn, U.S.- and sends her a postcard, asking her to apply to Stalin: The insane Rabbi and his small family should be allowed to leave Russia for humanitarian reasons. After five letters without answer, The dictator Styalin suddenly agrees, and signs an order of ‘deportation’, first to the Rabbi and the invalid son, and then to his wife.. How and why all that had been achieved - in a regime that no one could leave, becasuse it feared that millions would emigrate?
An answer to that you will find only by reading the whole novel.
- Mordechai Landsberg, August 2012
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