Sunday, May 28, 2006

Someone is drowning in churning water
and there is a law in the Talmud
that compels you to help another in distress.

You are compelled to dive in
and take your chances.
Even if you yourself are unable to swim,
you are compelled.

Now don’t this word of God
just spit in the eye of Charles Darwin?

I don’t know.
It’s something to contemplate.

Let’s say that that someone drowning in the water
is actually Charlie Darwin himself.
Normally, Charlie is a pretty good swimmer.
Fairly fit.
Destined to survive
if you get my Darwinian drift.
But right now,
he’s drifting downstream in a
heavy churning cascade of water and
damn the kismet,
it don’t look like he’s gonna’ make it.
Charles Darwin himself is about to be removed
from that oh so fluid gene pool.

But look…
There on the shore
what should appear but
a devout Hassidic Jew.
Devout I say.
He has devoted his entire life to
the study of the sacred Talmud.
So much so that
he never managed to achieve his
lifesavers badge.
As a matter of fact,
he can’t swim a lick.
But out there in the frothy heaving
swirling liquid death
he spies poor ol’ Chuck.
And he is compelled.
Compelled though he knows more likely than not,
he has no chance of saving Chuck from
that which even he cannot extricate himself.

And both of those men are doomed.
Absolutely doomed.
Unfit to survive,
that Hassidic Jew
leaps into the maelstrom.

Why does he do that?

Because he has faith.
Absolute faith.
And I?
I can swim.
Not well, but…
I can swim.
And I’m still standing
here on the shore.
Still standing in safety.
Still standing…

Quite faithless
and ashamed.

©06 Jack Hubbell


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