Israel marked by God?
I was not angry any longer, and I really was astonished. I had never expected this kind of thing from Siegfried; his very apparent religious devotion had always seemed the ingrowing kind, rather than the proselytizing. It was touching, and flattering, to think that he viewed me as a soul to be won back to Israel.
I said: ‘As though a rose should shut and be a Rosenbaum again. I’m afraid it isn’t possible, Siegfried.’
‘Names are not important.’ He smiled. ‘Look at me – the Jew, Siegfried! Rose or Rosenbaum – at synagogue it makes no difference.’
‘To me, synagogue itself makes no difference. I’m sorry. It’s the way one looks at life. It seems to me that there’s only a meaning when one blinds oneself to other meanings. Even Hitler couldn’t persuade me that everything hinges on the Jews.’
‘Don’t look at one Jew. Don’t look at the English Jews, or the German Jews, or the twentieth-century Jews. But look at Israel – four thousand years of Israel. Israel in bondage, Israel in exile, Israel homeless for nearly two thousand years but still holding to the Covenant. Nearly two hundred thousand Shabbaths; the same candles lit and the same prayers made.’
‘Yes,’ I said; ‘it’s poetry. But I’ve never made the mistake of thinking beauty was truth.’
‘If Israel is not marked by God,’ Siegfried said softly, ‘then no man anywhere is marked by God.’