3​.​) The Black Star [ii]

from by Jesse Livingston

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Joanna frowned.

“How would they know when a Tzaddik was born?” she asked. “They couldn’t just assume that any good man was a Tzaddik. That would be assuming that they knew God’s standards of righteousness, which would be a sin in itself, wouldn’t it?”

“Yes,” said Billy. “That’s why God sent a sign whenever a Tzaddik was born into the world. The rainbow. Whenever the people saw a rainbow, they knew the world was safe for another hundred years or so. If a generation went by and no rainbow was seen, they knew God might end the world at any moment. That’s why rainbows are considered to be so precious. It’s not just that they’re pretty to look at. They were a sign from on high that the end had been postponed. And don’t forget, the Jews lived in the desert, so it was very possible that they might go a hundred years without seeing one.”

“Billy,” I asked, “are you saying that we’re like the Tzaddikim? Is that why we’re worthy to end the world?”

“Not at all,” he said, and this time his eyes were soft. “If there really were any such thing as the Righteous Ones, we wouldn’t have to do this. But we are like them in a very small way. We care about mankind enough to want to end the suffering of the world. In that one respect, we are righteous. We are like the shepherd leading the sheep to a merciful slaughter...”

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from A Thousand Lifetimes in an Hour, released December 21, 2012

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Jesse Livingston Denver, Colorado

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