Destroyed in an Instant

I offer without comment this beautiful passage from Herman Wouk’s War and Remembrance:

“Jewish ceremonies depressed Natalie anyway, and the Sabbath candles still burning on the table were a special sore point.  Watching Miriam tonight, she had felt an old deep forgotten ache. Standing beside her mother in the same way twenty years ago, she had asked why mama was lighting candles in the daytime. The reply, that making fire was forbidden after sunset on the Sabbath, had seemed perfectly reasonable, since life to a little girl was full of arbitrary prohibitions. But then after the heavy Friday night dinner, her father had struck a flaring wooden match to his long cigar. She had said in all innocence, ‘Papa, that’s not allowed after sunset.’ A glance of embarrassment and amusement had passed between her parents. She did not remember what her father had replied as he went on smoking; but the glance she could never forget, for in an instant it had destroyed the Jewish religion for her.”

Brian Mattson