The Young Hassid and the Cloud
I was sitting on a cloud. A young Hassid sat down next to me. He smiled. Where I came from, he wanted to know. “Austria? – Oh.” He laughed. I asked him what the fuck for. “Oh, no particular reason.” Then he wanted to know whether I liked Dinosaur Jr. I said yes. He did too.
We sat on the cloud in silence for almost an hour. Then the shroud underneath us got thinner and we could see the earth. Why I wasn’t down there, he wanted to know. I told him that I felt more comfortable up here. Yes, he’d understand that, he said. “By the way, are you Jewish?” No, I replied. “Really? You look Jewish.” I asked him if he was disappointed now. “Come on,” he laughed, “why would I give a shit?”
I was wondering whether he studied the Kabbalah. He said he didn’t. He wouldn’t understand the Kabbalah. I asked him who did. “Others.” I asked him whether he was sure. “Pretty sure.” When I wanted to know whether this helped him any if he didn’t understand it himself, he looked at me like he had no idea what I was talking about.
After more silence, he pulled a marble from his pocket, played with it, then tossed it. We followed its fall till it disappeared. It took about three seconds. I tried one more time: “What happens when the Messiah comes?” He laughed again. “I have no idea.”
Soon after that, he clapped me on the shoulder, said “later,” and jumped onto a different cloud. I tried to see the earth. But the shroud was solid again.