Abraham Mezrich

Earlier in a dream Elijah had told me that I was an angel in a past life. I had six thousand wings and four hundred eyes. I had no fingers or hands but my feet were like wheels, my throat was like a bird's throat, I sang beautifully. My schedule was like this: every day I sang in the Heavenly Host, uttering great praise. How happy I was.

Suddenly I was reborn as a man. How did this happen?

I live amongst the garbage heaps. The garbage heaps were once a palace of a king; they were once a large and stately palace; many servants walked in and out of it. But then vandals came and the palace became garbage heaps, as I who was an angel once became human.

When I thought this I thought, Perhaps this is the way of things.

Again Elijah came to me. This time in a different place than in the last place where we were; and each of us were wearing different clothes. And now I had a list of questions; I was ready for an interview; I carried a red notebook.

    How did this happen? I asked him.

    God said, This is best for you, Elijah said.

    Why did God say this? I asked.

    You do not know enough yet to know, he said.

    I asked: When I know enough, will you tell me?

    He said, Then I will tell you.

But I offered him food, a drink, a glass of tea. I offered him water in a glass, an apple, and a pear. Each thing he declined.

I told Elijah: I do not like the garbage heaps.

    Who would you rather be? he asked.

    I told him: I would rather be praying in God's Hosts.

    He told me, It is better for you to be on earth.

Instantly I had a flash of vision and I was in Heaven. All the other angels surrounded me, all my old friends, and we sang to God, we danced, also; it was a wonderful place. All I could hear was the music of cymbals and lutes and I said, Sing! Sing!

I asked Elijah, when I came back to earth, Why is it better here, on earth?

He pointed outside. He said, Make the garbage heaps clean. Make the heaps a tower. Then you will understand.

Then I wept.

He took out from his bag a very small Talmud, I had never seen such a small Talmud, you could barely make out its cover. He touched it with his hands and his hands covered it, it was such a small Talmud, the Talmud became lost in his hands as he held it in front of me. That is how small it was.

"Do not cry, do not cry," he said. "Read this."

He said, "The heaps will become clean if you read this."

He said, "The heaps will become a palace again if you read this."

Read this, and you will see why you do not want to be an angel, why you really would rather be a man."

I read it over and over. In my dreams, passages of small Talmuds flew past my eyes. In my waking, I left studying only to eat and drink and to heed nature.

I did this for one thousand years, and then six thousand. Whenever I looked up, the palace had miraculously righted itself. Whenever I looked back into my Talmud, thousands of years would pass.

When I looked up in the sky I saw all the angels were jealous, and I said, "This is best! This is best!"

Abraham Mezrich is a writer based in New Jersey.

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