Summer 1844 – Too Much Knowledge, It Burns the Clouds and the Light Leaves You Blind

The journals, over two hundred of them, were ordered precisely on the shelves, the spines exactly aligned with the edge of the wood. Within each, from earliest to last, the cursive was clear and elegant, written smoothly as if without pause or worry for error. I sniffed the pages of the first volume and smelled ink, rag paper, leather and a hint of growing mildew. I sniffed the final volume and my gorge rose. 

I held the open pages before Father and Uncle Boris. Father’s nose wrinkled. Uncle Boris thought a moment. He said, “Some of the blood belongs to the rabbi. The rest belongs to children. Seven in that journal.” He waved his hand at the shelves. “At least thirty more in the previous eight.”