“The Unreal Man” to be published at Dastaan World

St Paul's

St Paul’s Cathedral in London during the Blitz 1940

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I know I’ve talked about this one in the past. “The Unreal Man” was accepted for publication ages ago…and then everything stopped. Sometimes publishing houses change staff, change ideas, change goals and authors can be stuck in the middle.

However, I signed the contract with Dastaan World last night and so in about 90 days, this story will see the light of day.

This story is important to me because it’s my oldest concept. In one version or another, I’ve lived with this tale for over 40 years. I can’t wait to see it become real (or unreal).

Here’s a small sample:

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The Yahrtzeit of Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan


Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan

Today (Shevat 14 on the Jewish calendar) is the Yahrtzeit of Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan (1934-1983), an American author and scholar who inspired thousands of Jews to return to Jewish observance. Rabbi Kaplan was a physicist, and applied the same analytical approach to the study of “metaphysics.” He possessed an encyclopedic command of Jewish literature, and he produced 50 books on philosophy, Jewish law and Kabbalah. The Jewish world mourned his untimely death at the age of 48.

I’m adding this to illustrate that physics and metaphysics aren’t mutually exclusive, and a brilliant man of faith can be an equally brilliant man of science. I know. It doesn’t play to the stereotypes that all religious people are superstitious Luddites, but part of the reason I post these messages here (rather than on my religious blog) is to break through the stereotypes.

Tikkun Olam


© Hossein Zare

This world wasn’t real but then nothing he dreamed was real. Unfortunately, he was dead and all he had left were his dreams.

Jonathan Cypher stood on a salty white plain, the sky above a uniform gray mist. How had he gotten here? He woke up but the statement hardly did his situation justice. He was always dreaming and when he woke up, he was always in another dream.

The dream of the salt plain held two remarkable features. The first was a tree in the distance. Like everything else around him, it was presented in varying shades of charcoal, but it was lush and alive, or so it appeared as it stood on the distant horizon.

Then there were the tracks. Some looked like twin tire tracks but for others, the pair were too close together. What could have made them? There were no vehicles in sight, no sound of engines or people, not even birds. No wind, no rain, the only thing he could hear was the crunching of the salt that probably wasn’t salt under his feet as he stepped down.

The idea of following the tracks was compelling. Something had made them but whatever it was had disappeared at their vanishing points. The only reasonable destination, if reason could be said to apply here, was the tree.

He started walking.

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Inner Light


© Sarah Ann Hall

It was a great disappointment to Aaron’s Bubbe when Mom and Dad stopped being observant. The boy only got to see Zaide and Bubbe when he visited them in Brooklyn on summer vacation.

Every day, Zaide had many visitors, people of his community who had questions, family problems, money problems. Zaide was always cheerful, no matter when they dropped by, giving words of advice and comfort, even money, though they were both poor.

They were gone now and left him their small flat and belongings including these Kabbalistic candlesticks. “Light them Aaron,” Bubbe’s voice sang. “Be filled with Zaide’s ohr.”

I wrote this for the Rochelle Wisoff-Fields Friday Flash Fiction Challenge. The idea is to use the image above as the inspiration for crafting a wee story no more than 100 words long. My word count is 99.

In a way, I took my prompt more from the portrait we see in the upper center frame than what look to me to be candlestick holders. It reminds me of those depicting the great Rabbinic sages, so I imagined Aaron’s Zaide (Grandfather) to be among them. Zaide would be busy so his Bubbe (Grandmother) would be the one he more related to.

I am very, very loosely combining the concepts of a Rebbe who is usually a revered teacher within a Hasidic community, and Kabbalah or Jewish mysticism (although that brief description hardly does it justice), specifically the idea of Ohr or spiritual light.

Aaron’s parents no longer follow the traditions, but it looks as if Zaide and Bubbe hope that one day  Aaron may return to the mitzvot (commandments).

To read other stories based on the prompt, visit InLinkz.com.