Faye Rapoport DesPres

Gimpel the Fool

I woke up at 3:30 a.m. and couldn’t sleep. After a while I drifted downstairs, brewed coffee, and sat in front of the pellet stove waiting for the snow to arrive. I picked up “Gimpel the Fool” by Isaac Bashevis Singer and re-read it for the short story class I’m teaching. As I finished it, a few tears slid down my cheeks, all over a story about a “fool” and the cruel world around him and the question of what really matters…and if it is really foolish to love and believe in the face of cruelty and deceipt, even when you recognize what you are doing. And then I thought, “This is what it all means – literature – sitting here in tears over this little story.”