Monday, December 11, 2017

Monologue Mania Day # 1398 A Great Miracle Happened Here (for Hanukah) by Janet S. Tiger (c) Dec. 12, 2017

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Monologue Mania Day # 1398  A Great Miracle Happened Here by Janet S. Tiger (c) Dec. 12, 2017    

Note-  this was loosely based on a true story.  Hanukah starts tonight -for more info - wiki 
 Wishing all a Happy Hanukah - with miracles that last throughout the entire year. 

                                                A Great Miracle Happened Here
                                       ©Janet S. Tiger all rights reserved

              (A man comes onstage, he is wearing a yarmulke, dressed from the seventies, where this story exists.  He is carrying an eight-branched menorah -the candle-holding device used during the holiday of Hanukah and a dreidel, the toy children and families play with during this holiday.

He sets the menorah on a table, and puts in seven candles, with one in the middle to light them.  This will leave one empty spot on the end for another candle.  He leans his head to pray silently for a moment, raises his head, he has a slight accent)

When the Rabbi asked me to talk about Hanukah, I wasn't sure what to say, because, although I've been a member here for many years......

             (He points into the audience) all know my wife who makes the delicious kugel, and my two boys, one was just barmitzvah, you may have come to hear him, and get some kugel.....

But everyone knows that since the war, I have never been that observant anymore.  After my family was murdered, this is easy to understand.  Towards the end of the war, my father and I were the only two left of all of us, we had been eight, my parents and my five brothers and sisters, all gone.  Just him and me left, working together in a camp.

And then one day, he was getting too weak, and they were taking him away, and .....he waved at me to keep working, but I went to stop the soldier, and...... he shot me.  I could see my father's face as I fell, I knew it was the end for him, too.

But as you can see, I did not die.  They hauled me bleeding to a hole and I was thrown in.  The thing was, when I was a boy, we grew up in a village, surrounded by a forest.  My father knew that forest well, we would hunt for food there, and he would teach me about the animals and the plants.  He used to point out the possums, and he would say, (imitates father's voice) 'Look at that stupid animal!  But it's not so stupid, it knows how to do one thing very well, and that thing is to play dead!  And that one thing..... keeps it alive.  Study this animal, the ability to play dead is a very important important as knowing when to fight.....'

        (He takes a deep breath, gets control of himself)

So I played dead, and they buried me in a, thank God, not too well packed grave.  I waited, like a possum, until the night, and I crawled out.   The bullet had gone through my side, thank God, and I was bloody, but it was summer, and I knew how to live in the forest.  I was lucky, I met with others who did not kill me, and I survived, I searched for my father, but he was gone, too, so I was filled with pain, I no longer believed there was a God, and I vowed never to go to shul again.

But .......then, I came to this country, and I got married, and Deborah said if I didn't go to services, at least she would go with the children.  I could agree to that.

The years go by, and, as some of you know,  I have an import-export business with Europe and  Israel.  One time, I fly on  the seventh night of Hanukah, which that year was on a Friday night, and on the plane, I sit next to a Chassid, and he liked to talk, and asked if I wanted to join him for Sabbath and Hanukah at his shul, not far from where my hotel was.  I thanked him, did not even listen to which shul it was, and forgot it.

Anyone who has been to Israel, especially Jerusalem, knows it gets very quiet on Sabbath, so by the time I got settled, there was not much left to do except walk around.....and there I was in front of a small shul, and the candles were lit for Hanukah, and for some reason, I went in.  It was like going back in time, a lot of the men there had numbers on their arms, just like mine....

           (He holds up his arm to show)

Everyone was very friendly.  They wanted to know where I was from, and they gave me a seat near the front, and during Kaddish, when I stood, the man I met on the plane came up and hugged me, and stood with me.  There were others standing for Kaddish, and there was something different that night, one older man stood up and started to speak about those he was saying Kaddish for.  Like me, like a lot of the people there, it was for an entire family.  His story was very sad.....

        (He is very affected by this)

His wife, his sons and daughters, all gone, and then, he said something that made me look up, look at him closely...... (imitates the voice of the man)  'my son died trying to save me, my son, may he rest in peace......Yitzhak ben Shmuel ....... of Lahkva.....'

       (He is frozen, still remembering the lightning bolt of that moment)

It was my name, and most of town......
I couldn't help it...... Are you Shmuel Rosenberg?  He stared at me for a moment, the entire shul was silent for the first time that night, anyone who knows Jews knows how unusual that is......

We looked at each other and we both started to cry.  I hugged him....Papa!.....

        (He takes a kleenex and wipes his eyes)

It was my father!  The truck he was put on to take him to his death, it slid into a ditch and he was thrown to the side......when they went to look at him.........he played dead.  He heard the soldiers talking, and one of them was going to shoot my father, the other said, 'Don't waste your bullet on that Jew, let's go'

And they left......and my father lived!  He survived in the same forests as I did,  not twenty miles apart, each of us thinking the other was dead!

He had not even looked for me, because he had watched me die, so he came to Israel, and helped fight during the War for Independence, and he had been reckless, because he didn't care if he lived or died......but now, we found out that we had both played possum!

          (He hangs his head, then raises it and laughs, holding up the dreidel)

So, why do I tell this story now?  Because it was the seventh night of Hanukah, and some have argued that is the night of the biggest miracle, because no one knew if it would last till the end, it was a hope, a prayer, fanned by the first days, but that seventh night, if it had gone out I say the words on the dreidel.......Nas Godole Haya Sham - a great miracle happened there.....

         (He spins the dreidel, then turns to leave, stops, looks back)

My father got to see my children, his grandchildren .....which is the greatest miracle.....before he died....perhaps the point of such simple holidays is to remind us that miracles are wife says the miracle is that......(smiling) I go to services with the rest of the family!

        (He exits.  Not the end of miracles!)


This was originally posted on Day #313   Dec. 22, 2014 

Note: A few words about 'free' -  all these monologues are protected under copyright law and are free to read, free to perform and video as long as no money is charged. Once you charge admission or a donation, or include my work in an anthology, you need to contact me for royalty 

Janet S. Tiger    858-736-6315      
Member Dramatists Guild since 1983

Swedenborg Hall 2006-8

1 comment:

Jennifer Silva Redmond said...

I love this story. Happy Hanukkah!