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  • Print publication year: 2004
  • Online publication date: June 2014

16 - The Big Fish to Jonah

  • Edited by Philip R. Davies, University of Sheffield
  • Publisher: Acumen Publishing
  • pp 89-90


Dear Jonah,

I am the big fish who saved your life once. The one who sustained you till you could come back to the world of human beings. I have to admit that I did not do that because I liked you. Quite the opposite: you were overbearing. Your sudden piety was actually unbearable, at least for me. As you quoted scripture again and again inside my body, I could only think of when a person recites Scripture, but is not careful about how he manages his affairs, and how he deals with other human beings. People who witness his activity say about him and because of him: ‘Woe unto So-and-so who studies Torah! Blessed is my father who did not teach me Torah!’

I would freely admit I had my reservations. I did not want to make myself an associate of an evil man, nor to have a wicked neighbor in my own midst, literally. But unlike you, I faithfully and fully fulfilled my mission. I am fully aware that just like Israel, and just like you, I was created to serve Yhwh. Unlike you, however, not only have I always served my master, but always did so without expecting a reward. Serving Yhwh is for me its own reward.

Listen Jonah, I actually saved your life. I feel a bit responsible for you. Appoint yourself a pious teacher and learn. Begin by reading carefully what I am writing to you and drink my instruction with thirst.