Rest for the Wicked

I find a worrying vagueness about the Jewish version of hell, known as Gehinnom (which was apparently created on day two of creation, alongside heaven). One body of opinion talks of fire which is sixty times hotter than normal fire. Another view suggests that it's more mental anguish than physical torture. But one thing is generally accepted: whatever (the hell) happens in hell, it stops for the Jewish Sabbath.

On Friday afternoon
in Jewish hell,
they turn the inferno
down to the flame
of a single candle
and they count them out,
in order of sin,
the least worst first,
the not so good,
the ever so bad,
and right at the back,
the eternally cursed.

On Friday evening
in Jewish hell,
it's time for the souls
to meet and greet
and compare notes
and clear their throats.

On Saturday morning
in Jewish hell,
residents are compelled
to intermingle
with laudable spirits
on a joint delegation
from Catholic heaven
and Jewish heaven
but no facts are found
by the well-meant
as the hell-bent
are reticent
as to the devil
in the detail
of their torment.
At last it's time
for the re-ascent.

On Saturday afternoon
in Jewish hell,
it's the custom for Jews
to take a snooze,
and they are oblivious
to occasional sounds
from above the ground
a yell,
a bombshell,
a church bell.

On Saturday evening
in Jewish hell,
it's the custom for Jews
to stroll down the road
and chat with demons
having a smoke
outside the gates
of Catholic hell,
where operations continue
twenty-four seven.

On Saturday night
in Jewish hell,
it's not quite heaven
but all agree
that things are as well
as they will ever be
in Jewish hell.

On Sunday morning
in Jewish hell,
they count them in,
in order of sin,
the slightly condemned,
the moderately damned,
the infernally doomed,
they turn up the heat
and sharpen their tweaks.
It's the start of another
working week
in Jewish hell.


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