THE BLOG
01/26/2016 07:57 pm ET Updated Jan 26, 2017

Circumcise This! - From Moses' Diary

Here is another entry from a translation of the recently discovered Diary of Moses, originally scratched onto sheep's skin in a steady ornamental hand.

In this account, Moses muses about one of his sons.

Dear Diary

Sinai Desert
Spring 1232 BCE
Sunday

My first-born son, Gershom, is a troubled loner. Zipporah, my wife, Gershom's mother, says he's just delicate, like one of those lapis lazuli vases we plunged fistfuls of marigolds and delphiniums and lobelias and yarrows in when we were back in Egypt.

(We did break a clutch of those vases, didn't we, setting them on marble table tops by six-foot windy windows?)

I have Ziporrah's word that Gershom is my child. But he's not what I call a shard off the old clay pot.

He lacks my hairline, he lacks the noble hanging of my nether lip, he lacks my philological depth, and he lacks my predilection for illusion. But he does have my ability to find true north in a low sky desert dustwind.

The Rough Cut

I blame it on the rough cut. It's a sore spot for all of us. I didn't circumcise Gershom because, let me face it right now, I thought it was beneath my principles to do such a thing, even though in Egypt the practice was customary ever since the Pleiades first adorned a pencil-mapped sky.

To me it mars a beautiful thing--this circumcision, this cutting.

G-d fumed. I mean G-d was beyond a word like anger when he saw I hadn't cut the baby. And G-d tried to kill me outright. (Someone get this down and call it 'Exodus 4:24-26.')

Zipporah saved my life by snapping up that flint and cutting Gershom's penis ring round, flinging the pink flesh at my foot, arresting the irritated justice of Divinity. Ah, how the baby wailed. Howled. And why not? It was a botched, slipshod, amateurish job, executed with a piece of shale!

A piece of shale! Nile crocodiles in a rowboat! Frel-a-sod-dam-duck! A piece of shale!

If there's any way an early hurt can linger and mold the mind, this is the hurt that can do it. Nothing is lost to the mind. It stores all.

This is why my darling Gershi has hobbled through life: his mother (his mother!) rudely stamped him.

And Why ?

Because G-d gave us unhygienic physical defects that human art must mend? Because G-d cannot tell us apart otherwise? Because there's too much of the hint of labia in a foreskin? Because of the daily, weekly, monthly usage of a penis? Because there must be blood? Because it looks better? What is it? Why?

Gershom, Gershom!

Dear boy, rest in your talents, your painted beads, your elevated mathematics, your mucked up horticulture, your kitchen spoons and bowls, your tuneful ditties.

You lack no religion, though you like no religion.

Here in this desert, out of Africa, out of Egypt, on the way to our promised land, I will look to you Gershom as my pillar of light, my sparrow-like leader, my Troubled Loner who, ever so infrequently, slips silently to my side and paces another day northward in this awful, shadeless, rock-strewn wilderness.

-- from a work in progress, Almost True Diary Entries of the World's Famed