Son of Elijah Aryeh Laurence Moses Isaac
Son of Adolf the Jew
I am not a lonely man of faith or as lonely as Franz Kafka. A man of faith by definition is never alone and Kafka was lonely only in the portrayals of his acquaintances. Kafka never sent his Letter to His Father. I am sending the following to my son.
I know that you are not afraid of me and this is my greatest joy. You inspire this memoir with your keen interest in all things German, including mastery of the language and a possible homecoming. Are we German Jews? Will I be accepted as a citizen? Will you settle in Freiberg?
My intent in raising you was to let you discover the identity of your name. Joseph, Minister of Agriculture in Egypt, Minister of Finance and finally Prime Minister. I confess I did not imagine your descent to Diaspora would lead you to Germany, but now it is all beginning to make some sense.
I do not feel estranged from you at all and welcome all ways the son raises the father. I rebelled against my Father, a real Hermann, and became a Rabbi. I never pushed Judaism on you, but confess fathers pray for sons who are disciples.
Being the Torah reader in the synagogue when you were growing up you learned the Trope and learned Torah reading. I was always overjoyed when we reached the Joseph narrative in the book of Genesis.
Abraham gave birth to Isaac. Love gives birth to awe. Isaacs awe is sometimes awful, remembering the knife at his throat. Israel seeks beauty in the balance. Israel’s favorite son Joseph saves the family, the tribes, and the nation.
So, near the end of Genesis the Blessings of Joseph:
Joseph is a fruitful son
A fruitful son by a fountain: daughters run over the wall
(Rashi: to behold him)
Your brothers and Potiphar and his wife
Embittered your life
Taking their best shots
They had tongues like arrows,
but your hands remained strong
you never lost your grip.
Joseph, your fathers’ champion
The Rock and builder of Israel.
All this from your fathers God
Who will still bless you
The blessings of heaven above
Blessings of the deep
The blessings of breasts and of the womb.
Your fathers’ blessings are stronger
Than the blessings of his parents
On the Arête of the everlasting hills
Your cortex crowned
As the elect of your brothers.
My Father made it clear to me his love was contingent on me being successful. This inspired a certain Jonah dimension to my life, a flight from greatness.
All I know how to do is writing.
I know you will do greater works.