“The rebbe blessed the food, and we sat down at table. Outside the window horses neighed and Cossacks yelled. The wilderness of war gaped outside the window. Amidst the silence and the prayer, the rebbe’s son smoked one cigarette after another. When supper was over I got up first.

‘My dear man, and so young,’ Mordkhe began to mutter behind my back, and he tugged me by the waist, ‘if there were no one in the world apart from wicked men of wealth and destitute vagrants, how would the holy men live?’

I gave the old man some money and went outside. Gedali and I said goodbye, and I went home to the station. There, at the station, in the agit-train fo the First Cavalry Army, there awaited me the shining of a hundred lights, the magic brilliance of the radio station, the stubborn running of the machines in the printing-press and my unfinished article for the Red Trooper newspaper.”

From Red Cavalry, Isaac Babel

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