A Fire-and-Brimstone Preacher

The homesickness that tormented young Zolf when he was first sent away to study in the Brisk Yeshiva eventually began to fade, as he found new diversions in his home away from home. Saturday afternoon was the high point of his week...it was then that he would go to listen to the travelling preachers, who used to peddle their own particular versions of salvation from town to town. In the following passage, the synagogue is packed to overflowing; the listeners sit transfixed as the renowned preacher Reb Elikum Getzel delivers a performance. A motif which recurs elsewhere in the book is the image of the "shiny gold buttons". A young person wearing the uniform of a secular high school student was something abhorrent to the traditional elders, because, as we see here, the road to damnation begins with the adoption of the Gentile manner of dress; progresses to the smoking cigarettes on the Sabbath, the eating of non-Kosher food, and leads ultimately to the Fires of Hell. From Chapter Eighteen: