Isaac Babel

  • Shabos Nahamu

    Isaac Babel, who died in a Soviet concentration camp in 1940, was perhaps the greatest Russian short-story writer since Chekhov. The following tale, here translated by Max Hayward, first appeared in a Moscow daily in 1918 and was republished in ZNAMYAin 1964. “Shabos nahamu” is the Hebrew “Sabbath of Comfort,” on which, after a period of lamentation for the Destruction of the Temple, the rabbi consoles the synagogue congregation by reading more cheerful passages from the Prophets.