By Philip Mogul firstname.lastname@example.org
Submitted: December 2001
Summary: The Kent family come together with good friends to celebrate Hanukkah. Their discussion recalls events that have greatly influenced their lives.
Standard Fanfic Disclaimer's apply.
As Rachel walked swiftly toward the Jerusalem gate of the heavenly city in which she lived, a sweet sounding voice called out to her causing her to pause and turn toward her friend. It was Eli.
Rachel smiled and waved toward her neighbor. When she had first arrived in the city years earlier, it was Eli and his wife who had befriended her and became Rachel's surrogate family.
Catching up to Rachel, Eli kissed her on the cheek. "Hey Eli," she said, "what are you doing here?"
Rachel teased him a little, "what would my husband say if he saw you kiss me like that?"
"Is that who you are hurrying to meet?" he asked.
"Yes," she said, as she thought of seeing him again after all this time.
Looking a little befuddled, Eli asked, "If I'm not mistaken, he's not expected for a little while yet."
"You're right," Rachel replied to her friend. Then lowering her eyes, she said to him that being apart from her soulmate had made her kind of anxious. She added, "I can't wait to hold him in my arms." Then smiling Rachel continued, "So, I've come a little early to the gate he'll use to enter the city. Seeing her friend smile, Rachel implored Eli not to laugh at her. "I haven't seen him in what seems like an eternity and I want to make sure I'm at the gate when he arrives."
"I won't laugh, if you'll allow me to wait with you." Eli then waited patiently for her reply.
Rachel agreed giving him a bedazzling smile, which he couldn't help but return. She and Eli then continued toward the Jerusalem gate. While they walked together, Rachel reflected that today was shaping up to be one glorious adventure.
On the walk toward the Jerusalem gate, they started to chat about past events that had influenced history.
December burst upon Metropolis like the finale of a fireworks' display. Two major holidays — holidays of hope — would occur later in the month — Hanukkah and Christmas. To meet part of the needs of these joyous festivals, the frenzied shopping activities of the Metropolians was already in full swing.
Caught up in this furor and excitement of the season were Lois and Clark Kent and their neighbors Joshua and Miriam Matthews.
"Neighbors," Clark smiled inwardly. The Matthews and the Kents weren't just neighbors anymore and hadn't been for many years. They had become more. A unique and loving extended family.
Let's see, CK thought to himself. When did the Kents and the Matthews become so entwined? After a few moments, CK, murmuring to himself, quietly remarked, "It was about fifteen years ago, just after the triplets' second birthday." Shaking his head and smiling, he recollected the event that caused two families to become more than just good neighbors. Because of his faux pas, they've become like kin and had continually drawn closer together.
Clark recalled the event and smiled. He had just landed in his back yard and did a spin change into his everyday attire, when he suddenly realized that he was not alone. Quickly turning Clark saw Joshua and Miriam Matthews staring at him in stunned disbelief.
For some reason, CK had been unaware of his neighbors' presence. At the time of his descent, his neighbors had been lounging on their back yard swing.
Maybe it was the unusual darkness of that particular night or the noise coming from his house that had momentarily distracted him, he would never be sure. Whatever it was that had caused the lapse in his concentration really didn't matter anymore. His aka had been revealed. As he again thought of that particular night, all that Clark could really conclude was that something had interfered with his normally super sharp observational powers.
Then chuckling to himself, Clark recalled that just after his secret had been revealed, an unbelievable look appeared on Josh and Miriam Matthews's faces. Their awestricken expressions were priceless.
At the time of this incident, Lois and Clark were well aware that Joshua and his wife were good people. Their morals, ethics and manner of living matched those of the Kent family.
Josh was a mathematical and physics professor on the faculty at Metropolis University. His wife, now on maternity leave, was a mathematics professor at the same academic institution.
While CK continued to reminisce about that special evening, he remembered that he had begun to become agitated just after his alter ego had been discovered. His feelings had obviously been telegraphed to his neighbors because Josh quickly jumped up and ran to him. Placing his hand on my shoulder, CK recalled that Josh quietly said, "Don't worry. We'll talk later." He winked and returned to his wife. Then, the Matthews both waved and went into their home.
Other memories of that night also flooded Clark's head. He recollected that later that evening, rather distraught, Lois and Clark visited the Matthews. It was an unexpected call.
By the end of their late night visit, both Lois and Clark were again at ease. Although the number of people, who were now aware of Clark's secret identity had increased by two, Clark's faux pas would turn out to be a blessing in disguise.
While Martha Kent had her husband Jonathan to talk to about their son's Superman exploits, Lois had no one nearby to discuss her husband's second job, moonlighting in tights.
When Clark inadvertently divulged his secret, Lois suddenly gained two neighborly confidants that time and again proved to be a godsend.
Looking back over the past fifteen years, CK could see in his mind's eye all the things that had caused the Kent and Matthews' households to meld. He realized that over this period a unique bond had developed between their families creating a close and loving affiliation. From the kind of relationship that had developed between their households, Clark knew that the kinship, between the Matthews and Kent families, would support them through good times and bad for the remainder of their lives.
An incident eight years after the discovery event, showed just how much the two families had amalgamated into a devoted totality.
On the way home from school, the Kent twins, Jennifer and Daren, were assailed by three middle school boys in their early teens.
The leader of the gang, Daemon, was the son of Councilman Lucas Judd, whose connections with the criminal element of Metropolis were being exposed by Lane and Kent in the Daily Planet.
Daemon, a boy of limited mental abilities, had taken it upon himself to avenge his father by physically assaulting and injuring the young Kent children.
Davi Matthews, recognizing the impending altercation, placed himself between Daren and Jennifer and temporarily blunted the assault.
While Daemon and his pals shouted epithets at Davi Matthews, he told the Kent kids to run home as fast as they could and tell their mother what had happened. As Jennifer and Daren fled, Davi kept his physical presence between them and the bullies.
Daemon and his companions, enraged by being thwarted in their attack upon the Kent kids, now turned their full fury upon Davi Mathews.
By using the Tae Kwon Do techniques Lois had taught him and the basic boxing skills he learned from his father, Davi held his own long enough for the Kent children to scurry home. Within a few minutes, however, the three teenage boys overwhelmed Davi and knocked him to the ground. So enraged was Daemon Judd at loosing his prey that he kicked Davi's body and head repeatedly as the young boy attempted to rise.
By the time Daemon started beating Davi Matthews with a club the young boy had already lapsed into unconsciousness. Daemon's buddies, at that point, attempted to restrain their leader.
Fortunately, while Daemon's friends were trying to stop him, Lois arrived with neighbors and subdued Daemon, who was still attempting to reach the unconscious Davi Matthews.
Lois, using a cell phone, called for an ambulance and the police.
The ambulance arrived within minutes and transported Davi to the local hospital. When Lois tried to board the emergency vehicle, the medic attempted to bar her way saying, "Only blood relatives can accompany the boy."
"I'm his aunt," Lois told the EM people instinctively as she jumped aboard the medical transport.
On the way to the hospital, Lois called Laura, Jonathan and Kira, her triplets, and told them to hold down the fort. She then telephoned Clark at the Planet and told him what had occurred. After hearing Lois's nearly hysterical information, CK rushed out of the newsroom in a flash.
Stopping to pick up Josh at the university, Superman and his spiritual brother arrived at the Kent home a few seconds later.
While CK went to check on all his kids, Josh rushed to tell Miriam, now seven months pregnant, and his daughter Rachel what had happened to Davi.
After hearing the news about her first born, Miriam became hysterical. Rachel just sat in the corner quietly sobbing. Taking Miriam in his arms, Josh eventually was able to calm her.
When Miriam became somewhat rational, she and Josh took Rachel to the Kents' home. Then they and Clark piled into Lois's jeep and made a beeline for the hospital, Metropolis General.
Arriving at the hospital, they were directed to the ICU unit located on the fifth floor of the medical facility.
Arriving at Davi's room, they saw Lois speaking with the attending physicians. Josh and Clark quickly joined the discussion. As they talked, the Kents and Matthews learned that Davi had a broken right arm, at the elbow and a fractured right tibia. The attending physicians, however, were not extremely concerned about the bone injuries, since they, when set, would heal in time. The injuries to Davi Matthews's head and nervous system, however, had caused the boy severe physical trauma and resulted in a deep coma. In addition, the ICU team couldn't seem to stabilize the youngster's vitals. As Davi continued to spiral deeper into his comatose state, the physicians became very concerned about the boy's chances for survival. The Matthews and Kents were informed that if there was no improvement soon in Davi's condition, the boy could die within a few days.
When the medical personnel had left, Clark took Miriam and Josh aside and explained to them how human and Kryptonian physiology could be coupled by using electricity and also described the device which he and Bernie Klein had developed for such a transformation. "Using the electrical linking apparatus," CK added "my super genes could be added to Davi's DNA. The sun then could be used as the main healing agent and the boy's life could be saved."
"Is the electrical instrument safe?" Miriam inquired. CK shook his head and asked Lois to join them. "As you already know," Clark said, "my wife was Ultra Woman before we married. Since the birth of our kids, she has again reactivated her super status by using the electrical method I described. As you see Lois has suffered no ill effects." "At present," Clark added, "she has been limiting the use of her super powers until all our kids' super abilities are fully developed."
Clark also added that Lois had helped Superman with his super hero work if conditions warranted her presence. "To remain camouflaged during these emergencies," CK told them, "Lois wears a stealth garment also developed by Dr. Klein. Her special stealth garments tend to thwart most electronic surveillance devices."
"Someday," CK added, "when Perry retires and Lois and I became co- editors in chief of the Planet, Ultra Woman would, of necessity, need to reappear on the global scene. Running the Planet, while providing super hero support to the Earth, would require the efforts of Lois and Clark in both roles".
When CK finished speaking, Josh asked CK, "Will your super abilities be permanently transferred to Davi?" Both Lois and Clark nodded yes to his question.
Before Josh or Miriam could ask more questions, Lois said, "Clark and I were going to request that you to allow us to add super genes to all of your children."
Lois continued, "You know that our children are like siblings. Adding your kids to the ranks of our super family would not only bind them closer, but would also add more super DNA to the gene pool of our extended family. By including them within the super clan, Clark and I believe that a healthier super line would result, as our family enlarged." The Matthews, after some discussion among themselves, agreed to the Kents' logic.
The next day, as Davi was treated by Dr. Klein and moved to a sunny room, the other Matthews' children became super kids.
Within the next several days, to the amazement of the ICU staff, Davi's medical condition improved dramatically. By the end of a week, he was discharged from the hospital. It was the first day of Hanukkah.
The next fifteen years passed as if in a dream. There were now eleven super kids, the youngest being another set of Kent twins, Lawrence and Mara — (Lar-El and Mara-El) — now five years old.
December and its holidays had once again rolled around and the Kent family was preparing to gather at the Matthews' home and celebrate the festival of lights. After Hanukkah, the extended super family would then observe Christmas festivities at the Kents' abode. December had become a very blithe month for the Kent and Matthews's families.
Their joint family celebration of the Hanukkah and Christmas festivals had begun the year that Davi had been hospitalized. From that time until the present, their joint December celebrations had continued and expanded, for no particular reason, between the Kent and the Matthews' households.
This year there would be an added person at the December festivals. Isaac Matthews, Joshua's grandfather would be joining them at their holiday tables. The patriarch of the Matthews clan, Isaac, had reached that time in life when he needed some sort of care — many had suggested an assisted living facility. Since the Matthews clan did not believe in placing aged family members in geriatric type homes, the elderly Isaac Matthews became a new member of Josh and Miriam's household. While taking care of Isaac should have fallen to Jacob, Isaac's son, he and his wife were currently teaching in the UK and writing a mathematics text with their British counterparts. Isaac's grandson, therefore, became his father's surrogate.
After the first candle was placed in the Menorah and kindled (the first of eight -one per day over eight days), the Kent and Matthews' clans sat down to enjoy a festive meal. As the two families partook of the special holiday delicacies, Kara asked Isaac why he had lit his own candle, using such a decrepit makeshift candleholder — it was disfigured and blackened in appearance. Using her x-ray vision, she had discovered Isaac's candleholder had been made from a natural organic material — potato fibers — long since oxidized adding to its severely tarnished appearance.
Pausing for a moment, Isaac smiled at Kara and said, "I kindle a light in my candle holder to praise GOD for my deliverance from an unbelievably hellish existence," he quietly answered her.
"Could you tell us more?" Kara asked Davi's great grandfather.
Giving her a bedazzling smile, Isaac said, "After we enjoy our festive meal young lady, I'll be happy to tell you and the others a tale of a journey through the valley of the shadow and my eventual salvation from a hellish imprisonment."
Kara simply nodded and started to enjoy Miriam's delicious cuisine.
After supper, the two families gathered in the den. When everybody had settled down, Isaac started to tell a tale that happened some eighty years in the past. At that time, he was a young boy just about ten years of age.
In his little village, Isaac, for convenience called it *Anytown*, he told them that the Jewish population was preparing to celebrate the festival of Hanukkah and their Christian neighbors were frantically readying themselves to welcome the coming Christmas season. Music of both persuasions permeated the village and heightened the expectations and joy that were the major themes of the season.
While the war clouds gathered about them, the hamlet of Anytown was still preparing to celebrate Hanukkah and Christmas. The town's behavior stood in stark contrast to the slaughter that would soon engulf the world.
"Two days before Hanukkah," Isaac told his family, "black booted monsters (NAZI Storm troopers) marched into my peaceful hamlet. In a reign of terror, which began almost immediately, the invaders set about collecting all the Menorahs in my town. The Jewish population, the Gypsies, the town's intellectuals, and the clergymen of all faiths were rounded up and locked in the town's animal slaughter house. The stench in this building was beyond description."
"At dawn on the following day, Anytown's learned individuals were gathered in the main square and shot."
"Following the murder of nearly a hundred men and women, the Jews and Gypsies of the town, with other prominent leaders, were taken to the railway yards and packed into cattle cars. The black booted monsters used sticks and attack dogs forced the people into the railroad cars. So many were loaded into each rail car that we had no room either to sit or lie down. Those who complained or were reluctant to board the train were shot immediately."
"When we all had been loaded in the rail car, a young NAZI officer spoke to us. We were told that the people in our train were going to be resettled in the East."
"Looking into the cold blue eyes of the glaring NAZI's soldiers who had accompanied the officer, a sense of dread began to permeate the train of castaways."
"Days later," Isaac said, "as the train sped through the countryside, the stress spawned by the fear of the unknown was rapidly causing the mental and physical deterioration of the people in the rail car. Some pregnant women miscarried, people with chronic coronary and lung conditions suffered greatly and many perished. Those who seemed to be afflicted the most, as the environment within the railroad car became exceedingly more squalid, were the very young and the elderly. Those who succumbed before the train reached its final destination, we soon learned, were the lucky ones."
"Although there was sorrow throughout the train, the people of the railway car tried to push away their fears while they prepared to celebrate the festival of Hanukkah."
"That evening, as the train and its suffering human cargo journeyed further and further eastward and death, the Festival commemorating a miracle was beginning."
"I often think about that time," Isaac told those present. "As darkness descended upon the land, I heard children who had begun to cry again from their hunger. I recall my mother and other parents digging deep into their pockets, where, unknown to the black booted monsters, they had hidden small amounts of bread, a potato or two, and some butter."
"It's important for you to keep up your strength, I remember hearing my mother say, as she handed me a slice of potato."
"When I could see stars appear in the sky, through cracks in the cattle car, I turned to locate our the Rabbi and asked him, 'why weren't we saying blessings and singing to welcome the festival of Hanukkah?' "
"When my eyes finally discovered our community's spiritual leader, I saw that he was lying on the floor of our train with his head supported by the wooden wall. From his pallor and facial expressions, I knew that he had become seriously ill."
"Making my way to the Rabbi I asked him if we were going to welcome the holiday?"
"Looking at me he remarked, 'where's the Menorah to kindle? Hanukkah is a festival of lights. Without lights there can be no miracle to proclaim,' " he reminded me.
"Pausing for a moment, the Rabbi then added, 'we had barely enough time to get our coats when those monsters, in black boots, chased us from our homes. No one, it seems, had time to collect their Menorahs.' "
"When the Rabbi stopped talking, I suddenly remembered the slice of potato, mom had given to me."
"As the Rabbi gasped for air, I began to hollow out a tiny well in the potato's middle, like I was shown by my teacher many years before. When I had accomplished my task, I pulled the lace from my right shoe. Then I pleaded with my mother for something I could use to make a candle. As I watched, she reached deep into her pocket for a piddling amount of butter and handed it to me. How my mother had somehow secured this foodstuff just before we were deported will always be a mystery to me. With my shoelace, slice of potato, and butter in hand, I made my way back to where the Rabbi was stretched out."
"When I searched my clothes, I discovered several matches that papa had given to me the night before. With one short scrape against the wood, a flame arose and danced across the match head. As I held the flame to the butter it began to melt and the fat dripped into the well I had scooped in the potato. I then placed my shoelace within the potato well and used the dying match flame to ignite the lace."
"'Rabbi,' I recalled crying out, here's your Menorah. Hearing my voice, he opened his eyes in wonder. The flame from my potato Menorah seemed to reflect from his eyes as if two smaller fires had just been kindled in his soul."
"Amazed, those of us who were there, watched the Rabbi slowly begin to sit up, never blinking and never taking his eyes off the flame. As he started to chant the prayers, I remember that all the weeping in the train suddenly ceased."
"When I said Amen, at the end of the prayer, 'Amen' echoed the Rabbi. He was now sitting up, eyes sparkling. As he recited other blessings, he slowly rose to his feet. It was our miracle of Hanukkah."
"That night we sang with such power that the train rocked to and fro. Though we were prisoners of the NAZI, on a train bound for *GOD knows where*, the light from one little candle purged away, for a little while, all the darkness in our lives."
"On the third day of Hanukkah, the train arrived at its destination. The doors were thrown open and the devil's disciples, with large dogs, boarded the train and began forcing us from the railroad car."
"Those who could not move were either shot or beaten to death."
"When the camp guards finally found our Rabbi, he was lying on the floor of the prison train just staring at the potato Menorah, which I had fashioned."
"Then the bringers of death told him to rise and get off the train. He neither moved nor responded to their demands. His body had wasted away during his train ride to hell. The Rabbi was just too weak to move."
"As I watched, the black booted monsters ripped the clothes from the Rabbi's body. Then his flesh was systematically torn from his body by lashes of their whips. Heavy wooden clubs also broke his bones. All through his torturous ordeal, the Rabbi said nothing, but just stared at the potato Menorah."
"Mercifully, somewhere during his agonizing ordeal, the Rabbi died and the Menorah slipped unnoticed from his grasp."
"While the Rabbi's killers hurled his body from the train, I managed to retrieve the Menorah and hid it under my cap."
"When all of the occupants had been removed from the train we were herded like cattle, to the entrance of a large encampment surrounded by a tall barbed wire fence. Above the entrance to this compound was a simple phrase, *Arbeit Macht Frei*. An inscription that came to denote death for the many people who passed through the portals of the Majdanek concentration camp."
"After being examined," Isaac told the Kent and the Matthews' families, "People were directed to enter the camp and proceed either to the left or to the right of a white post. While I, my older brother, and father proceeded to the right, my mother, younger brother, and baby sister were sent in the opposite direction."
With tears running like rivers over his face, Isaac said in a strained voice to his audience, " I never saw them again. Later, I found out that on that very same day my mother, baby sister, and younger brother went to GOD."
"As we was being directed toward what looked like wooden barracks, my nose sensed a sweat sickening smell. Curious, I asked papa if they were burning feathers from chickens like mama did to prepare our Sabbath meal. I knew that mama had to sear some of the chicken's skin to remove the last of the feathers. After sniffing the air again, I was sure that the smell was like the one that used to fill the kitchen when mama was preparing a chicken. When I pressed papa for an answer to my question, I remember how strangely he looked at me. Suddenly with tears gushing from his eyes, he clasped me to his breast and mumbled, 'May GOD be merciful to you, my son.' At that time, I was much too young and naive to understand that I had entered Satan's cauldron, a place of unspeakable tortures and death."
"Later, I was to understand that papa had somehow known what that sweet, sickly smell represented. He told me later it just came to him — sort of a revelation."
"On the afternoon of my arrival at the camp, I was taken to an open field. There, a NAZI camp official instructed me and others how to use a modified riding crop to drag a body from the gas chambers to the ovens located in the crematoria building."
"During that first week, as I worked at my assigned task, each meal I tried to ingest was soon vomited."
"Those who refused to work at their assigned task were immediately shot in the head or hung and their lifeless bodies cast into the ovens."
"Returning to my barracks each evening, shaking, I seized the homemade Menorah and clenched it to my breast praying for deliverance." Looking back Isaac said, "I believe that little potato Menorah sustained me and kept me sane during my journey through hell."
"Near the end of the first week at the Majdanek death camp, I noticed that shortly after sundown my father and brother were reciting the Kaddish (prayer for the dead)."
"When I asked who it was they were praying for, my older brother tearfully told me it was for mama, our younger bother and baby sister."
"Although I suspected they were gone, my psyche wasn't prepared for that rather blunt remark from my brother. Grabbing the potato Menorah, I sat on my bunk and rocked to and fro and began crying hysterically. A central pivot had slipped from my life and my soul would be spiritually empty for some time to come."
"To quell my anguish, papa hugged and tried to comfort my tortured soul. All types of hatreds swept through my head as I thought about the horror of my mother's passing. If it wasn't for her words that were and will be forever in my heart, follow the traditions of your people — remember that vengeance is mine sayth the Lord. Let justice take its course — I would've gone insane."
"While contemplating my mother's passing, the slogan at the camp's entrance suddenly flashed through my mind 'Albeit Macht Frei' — Work Gives Freedom. Like other sayings of the black booted monsters, it was a bald face lie meant to deceive. This place, this concentration camp, was an industry whose main product was death. Majdanek, and camps like it, were constructed to slaughter European Jewry and to silence those who opposed the NAZI's new commandments — steal from thy neighbor, cheat thy neighbor, and kill thy neighbor."
"Before sleep claimed me on that terrible evening, the night of my mother's passing was confirmed, my soul suddenly knew the direction of my life's work. Teach the young would be my main endeavor. Secondly, working with others, I would strive to find and bring to justice the NAZI murderers. The worst scurge humankind had ever endured."
"When I informed my father what I intended to do as my life's work, he chuckled. How can an eleven year old make such a momentous decision? He then said to me, 'think about it my son and we'll talk more about your life's work in a few years.' Of course, we never had the opportunity to speak about this topic again. The black booted monsters saw to that."
"Several months after entering the camp, I was confronted with a dead body upon returning to my barracks. It looked like the man had succumbed from a combination of starvation and exhaustion. Noting that the dead man's jacket was nearly intact, I took it from his remains and placed it over my own shredded garment. Unknowingly, this seemingly mundane act was to save my life."
"A few weeks after I found the jacket, the camp guards suddenly barged into the barracks and rounded up all but a few of the inmates. Why I was excluded, at that time, was a mystery to me."
"As those of us who remained watched, we saw our barracks mates, my father and brother included, being herded towards the gas chambers."
"That evening the sweet, sicking smell, which always seemed to hover over Majdanek, appeared more intense than usual."
"Late the following day, a bunk mate, Father John Thomas, confirmed what my heart already knew. I was an orphan. Even though my soul had been prepared for this moment, it still felt like a knife had been thrust through my vitals. That night I recited kaddish for the first time. It was said for my father and brother, who had perished the day before, and seventeen other relatives exterminated at an earlier date. Now, I was truly alone."
"After calming down, the young priest told me that the number on my jacket had preserved my life. It had not corresponded to the group destined for the gas chamber and crematoria on that particular day. The number on my jacket apparently belonged to a prisoner who had been slaughtered some months before."
"While we talked, the priest informed me that he had been incarcerated because he had dared to speak against the NAZI regime and the atrocities they were committing in the name of the Third Reich."
"As I continued to listen, my spirit became again enraged. The priest's story combined with the recent loss of my father and brother ignited a fury within my soul."
"In my unrestrained anger, I walked to the center of the barracks and announced to those present, 'tonight we will place GOD on trial for abandoning his creations to the minions of Hell.'"
"Soon, word got around about my barracks's intent."
"That night, people from many different huts gathered in my barracks to argue the guilt or innocence of the Eternal One. The trial lasted until dawn. When a decision was finally called for, the verdict was guilty as charged."
"After the decision by the jury, I walked to the center of the room and proclaimed, now my brethren let's pray."
"As dawn was breaking nearly a dozen different prayer groups were asking GOD for deliverance from their man made hell that was the Majdanek concentration camp." "At the end of the prayer session, John Thomas said to me, 'Isaac, as you prayed, I noticed an intense yellow light radiating from your bunk.'"
"I thanked the priest for his information and hurried to my bunk and picked up the potato Menorah. It felt warm to the touch, as if it had been used to kindle a candle." " For some strange reason," Isaac told his audience, " I smiled inwardly and quietly murmured thank you."
"The next day the priest once again beckoned to me. 'You of course know why you were spared from the ovens.' I nodded affirmatively."
"He added, ' the NAZI's lower echelon people are just bean counters. Most of the time they just look at the numbers on peoples' garments to see if they correspond with those numerals on their check list. Those death collectors seldom look at the tattooed number on a prisoner's arm.' "
"'My friend,' John continued, ' there is a chance that you might survive this Hell of ours by wearing that found jacket.' Studying me for a moment, Father John Thomas further remarked, 'you may be one of those who will be able to bear witness for all who perished in this place. A place where the grim reaper now uses as his hunting grounds.'"
"During the next weeks and months John Thomas and I became kindred spirits. To maintain our sanity, we spent many a long hour discussing the bible and its subtle messages."
"Several months later, as I was resting, a camp inmate carried the battered body of John Thomas into our barracks and placed him on his bunk."
"I was by his side in an instant. Gazing into John's eyes, I also asked the person who had carried him to us what had happened?"
"Clearing his thought, the gypsy told me that, while Father John was providing the 'last rights' to a dying soul, a drunken guard, for no apparent reason, except maybe for a death lust, had beaten him unmercifully with a wooden truncheon. Pausing for a moment, the inmate added, 'even when the priest ceased to move or cry out, the camp goon continued to beat him unmercifully until he was called by one of his sanguine superiors.' It was then the good samaritan said, 'I quickly grabbed the priest and brought him here.'"
"After thanking the man who brought John home, others in the barracks and myself began tending to the needs of my brother. While examining the priest, we became aware that he was bleeding internally and that his legs had been crushed."
"For the next two days those who could tended to John's wounds and other needs."
"When he was lucid, 'John begged me to return to work.' He feared for my life."
"For some reason, the camp goons didn't bother me during this period. I guess they thought it was hilarious that a Jew was tending to the needs of a gentile, and a priest to boot. They had long ago forgotten that we are all GOD's creations."
Pausing for a moment, Isaac said, "Their lack of moral and ethical values, inculcated by the new order, had robbed them of a most important biblical teaching — there are many paths to GOD and the Eternal One loves all his creations equally."
"After the second day of my vigil, I took John's advice and returned to my camp assignment." "Upon reporting to my section leader," Isaac told the Kents and Matthews, "I was severely beaten for my delinquency."
"As I was battered, an old wound partially opened causing some blood to run down my right arm. Seeing the blood the section leader told his lackeys to stop their punishment of the inmate called Isaac or 27183649."
Shaking his head, as he remembered, Davi's great grandfather added, "I was able to stop the bleeding with a rather filthy wash rage before resuming my assigned tasks."
"That evening," Isaac continued, "I returned to the barracks and resumed nursing my friend. When I tried to cleanse his body, I found that the only water available for this purpose was from a ditch adjacent to our barracks. As I tried to help my spiritual brother that evening, I realized that he was dying."
"As I frantically increased my ministering, John said to me in his delirium, 'I wish someone would give me the last rights.'"
"With tears running down my face," Isaac said to his audience, "I lowered myself to the floor and after propping myself up on my knees I made the sign of the cross on John's forehead."
"Then speaking in his ear, I said, 'In the name of the Father, the son and holy spirit I give you absolution.'"
"Seeing that the cross on John's forehead was bloodied from the wound in my arm, I asked Davi, who worked the camp's infirmary, for some alcohol to cleanse the blood from the priest's body."
"When I tried to clean John's forehead, my spiritual brother grabbed my hand and held it as if in a vice. He wouldn't allow me to remove the blood from his body."
"Just before John Thomas passed on and with my hand still firmly in his grasp, he said to me, 'If you survive this living hell, let justice prevail. While you may feel that wheels of justice grind too slowly, in the end Isaac, they do complete their task.'"
"Gasping for breath, John added, 'do not seek vengeance my brother, his voice fading. Be a hunter of those who are responsible for these death camps and those who did their biding — the murderers of thousands upon thousands of helpless and innocent people. Find these disciples of the devil and bring them to the bar of justice. Don't worry about those who escape man's judgements. Eventually, they must face the judgement of a higher power. One that will grant them their just rewards.'"
"While he struggled to sustain life, I realized that the ring of his words reminded me of my mother's teaching."
"Struggling furiously to ward off the Pale Horse, I watched as John Thomas closed his eyes and breathed his last. When, my friend had at last passed into GOD's hands, it was as if a mallet struck me. A few seconds after his death, I started to rock back and forth as tears fell uncontrollably upon my spiritual kin's mortal remains."
"While I was mourning my brother's passing, Davi cleansed my opened wound and dressed it with a clean bandages. Bandages, like the alcohol, he had smuggled from the death camp's infirmary."
"Two years after John Thomas's passing, Davi and I walked through the portals of the Majdanek Concentration Camp to freedom. In my hand I carried the Potato Menorah, my link with the spirit of all creation."
"I had entered Majdanek concentration camp a naive youngster, just under ten years of age, and had emerged from the devil's cauldron a young man of nearly fifteen years."
Isaac told them, "After our journey through the valley of the shadow, Davi went to the United States — he had an aunt living there — and I was smuggled into Palestine by the Jewish underground army — the Haganah. There, six years later I met my wife. We were married in Jerusalem and a short time later emigrated to The States and settled in Metropolis, New Troy."
"As the years rolled by, my wife and I conceived four children, who in their time married and begot eleven children of their own. From my grandchildren, there are currently thirty-six great grand kids. The black booted monsters, in the end, had failed to destroy those whose faith and philosophy had opposed their warped and perverted thinking. The Jewish people live and again contribute, with other peoples, to the enrichment of humankind. Their survival is also a miracle of the Hanukkah lights. Abraham's covenant with GOD remains unbroken."
After Isaac finished his story, he and his grandson Josh lit their respective Menorahs. As those in the den area watched the burning candles, the flickering flames seemed to caress the Matthews' home. As they continued to look on, the Kent and Matthews' families saw Isaac murmur a special prayer above the Menorah lights. "God," he quietly said, "throughout my lifetime I've kept the memory of this holiday and its meaning alive within my soul. It brought me solace and protected my sanity through a time of lunacy. I pray thee, as my life journey nears its twilight, that my descendants and people everywhere will always carry the candles of freedom and justice in their hearts and let no evil force extinguish their flame."
Traditional holiday foods were once again served. Cheese dishes, pancakes with sour cream, and other delicacies were eaten as the Hanukkah lights continued to bath the room, sanctifying all who were there.
While the Kent and the Matthews' families were enjoying the food and the traditional Hanukkah games, Isaac turned and gazed at his great granddaughter Rachel. She had been named after his beloved wife. As he stared at her, it appeared, to his tired eyes that she was hovering several inches above the floor. Startled, Isaac said to her, "Rachel what are you doing." Almost immediately, the young girl returned to the floor. "What do you mean zayda?" Rachel replied feigning surprise. "You looked like you were floating," Isaac remarked. Seeing that Rachel was caught in a bind, C.J. Kent interjected and said, "Dr. Matthews, it was my doing. I was holding her up."
"Oh, that explains it," Isaac murmured as he moved off to rejoin the adults.
"Thanks C.J." Rachel said. "No problemo," he replied.
Rachel then took C.J. by the hand and they returned to the other children.
As the Kent and Matthews' families continued to relish in the traditional Hanukkah foods and the children played the holiday games, Isaac said to Lois, "If I didn't know better I would swear that the children in this house were all part of the same family." "You know," he continued, "I feel that all of these kids possess something unique, something wonderful and that in time they and their progeny will make this world a much better place."
"When I look at how they work and play together," Isaac added, "I somehow know that your families will be connected to one another for all time to come."
Chuckling, he remarked, "You know Lois I sound like Moses who was given a glimpse of the future shortly before his death."
Smiling, Isaac remarked, "Just think of me as a little daffy. Consider my babble as the ravings of an old man whose sanity may be on the wane."
Lois, placing her arm about the old man, replied, "I don't think your thoughts are the ravings of a befuddled mind." Looking into his smiling face she said, "Did you ever read anything by H.G. Wells? You know he published some interesting books about futuristic ideas along the same line of reasoning you talked about. In his works are thoughts about time travel, Utopia, and other marvelous inventions. In fact, I have some of his books in my library. If you like, I'll lend them to you. You may find some of his ideas very interesting."
A week following the Hanukkah festival, the Kent-Matthews clan began celebrating the twelve days of Christmas. Like the eight days of Hanukkah, it was a joyous time for the two families.
Snow came early that year. Metropolis and its suburbs settled in and began the traditional winter activities.
Early in February, Josh felt that something was amiss in the house. Searching his home, he discovered that his grandfather had passed on while taking a bath. Like a Tzadic (a righteous man), who had purified his body before his soul returned to GOD.
The next day Isaac was interred next to his soulmate of sixty years. She had gone to GOD eighteen year earlier.
Joshua placed the blackened potato Menorah into Isaac's gravesite, as each in their turn helped fill the grave with earth.
When the coffin had been completely covered over, the Kent families watched and listened, as Josh recited some of the traditional burial prayers. He concluded the brief service with the twenty-third psalm. "The Lord is my shepherd…"
Just before they left the cemetery, Josh walked to his grandmother's grave. Placing his hand upon her gravestone and looking heavenward, he shouted, "grandma you have your friend back."
As Rachel and her friend talked, Eli said to her, "I believe that Isaac is just now coming through the Jerusalem gate. Rachel turned and saw a man with an all too familiar limp and rushed to meet him. She leaped into his arms and kissed him with a fervor that only eighteen years of lost love could garner.
While embracing, the two lovers heard Eli clear his throat.
Disengaging from their embrace, they both stared at Eli.
Smiling, Rachel's friend said, "Sorry to interrupt your romantic reunion. You'll have an eternity to rediscover and deepen your love for one another."
"Right now, though, I've been asked to escort you both to the 'Well of Souls', someone, very special, is there today and would like to meet with you, face to face."
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