Biographical Fiction posted March 23, 2020

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Our rabbi at the moment he was confronted by Kaia

My Dream of Meeting Kaia

by Aaron Milavec

Rabbi being confronted by Kaia

I had a dream.

While I was descending into my meditation room in our basement, the walls became transparent to an exceedingly bright light.  At the bottom of the stairs, I met a short old woman looking fiercely at me.  She told me her name was Kaia.
Baffled, I called my dream specialist.  She told me that her grandmother Kaia was married to a drunk who beat her every Sabbath night.  She pleaded with her rabbi to grant her a divorce decree.  He replied, "Do the best with what God gave you."
But on the wedding day of her youngest sister, she confronted her rabbi openly: "I will not bless this marriage until you grant me my divorce."  The rabbi relented.
A good man in a neighboring village lost his wife shortly thereafter, and he asked Kaia to become his wife.

Finally her life was surrounded by tranquility and love.


Flash Fiction contest entry


Kaia lived at a time when civil divorces were unthinkable. In Kaia's village, marriages and divorces were granted or denied by their local rabbi who knew the lives and struggles of his neighbors and who interpreted "God's will" for them.

#1 Does Kaia's religious system generally provide a superior arrangement because it offered a more personal, flexible, and close-at-hand judgment regarding her domestic problems? Or does our system of impersonal civil divorces do more to secure the general good? [Offer examples.]

#2 What is the wisdom and the folly of the rabbi's refusal, "Do the best with what God gave you"?

#3 Bruised by a Jewish family tradition that clearly tolerated some wife-beating, Kaia managed to find a way to exploit the weaknesses of her religious system in order to get the divorce she so urgently needed. Is her public confrontation of her rabbi "commendable" or "scandalous" or a mixture of both? Why does her rabbi finally relent?

#4 Interpretation of dreams has a long-standing place within Jewish circles. Consider the case of Joseph interpreting the dreams of the Pharoah (Genesis 41) or the instance of Tevya in "Fiddler on the Roof" using his dream to persuade his wife to allow her daughter to enter into a love-match with the tailor. In your own personal tradition, when and how do you allow dreams to become a source of reliable guidance for your personal life decisions?

#5 What would you be inclined to say is the reliable content of my dream of Kaia?

Note: Readers can choose to respond to just one or the other question above. When you elect this option, let your title begin with the # or ## involved. For example, "#4#5" signals that I will be addressing areas 4 and 5 above. "###" signals that I will address all five issues in my comments.
Pays one point and 2 member cents.

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© Copyright 2020. Aaron Milavec All rights reserved.
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