2 February 2018

Published January 31, 2018 by rochellewisoff

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PHOTO PROMPT © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

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The crunch is on. I’ve started putting a manuscript together for A STONE FOR THE JOURNEY. So most of my writing energy these days is going into the short stories and excerpts for the book. The following is a tweaked excerpt from FROM SILT AND ASHES that’s cut down from the version that’s going in the next book. That made perfect sense, right? 

Genre: Historical Fiction circa 1904

Word Count: 100


          Havah traced the shin, the first letter of the word Shaddai, Almighty on the weathered tube on her door jamb with her index finger. The mezuzah was one of the few things she managed to salvage from the ruins of her village.

        She remembered how David, then thirteen, spent hours carving the wood. Careful not to crack it, he hollowed out a place to insert the parchment scroll inscribed with Torah verses. How had it survived? She brought her fingertips to her lips and kissed them, remembering her brother’s face.

       “Sweet David, your words have I hidden in my heart.”




117 comments on “2 February 2018

  • Interesting information, Rochelle. Good writing as always. I’ll be unable to work on the computer for a time as the Google India server is having trouble connecting to programs. It’s extremely slow and often freezes and can’t connect at all. This has happened before and I just have to keep trying to see if it’s back. Even the customer service for my Wi-fi is messed up. —- Suzanne


  • Such a touching excerpt, Rochelle. I wonder if it’s possible for David to return.
    So delicate and beautiful. I admire how you write.
    Thanks you for the video.
    Best wishes,

    Liked by 1 person

  • Rochelle,
    Such a moving testimony to the power of family and loved ones to pass on a chain of faith. I love how personal it feels and universal at the same time, “your words” – both the Torah and David’s personal preservation of it. Hope all of your writing goes well.

    Liked by 1 person

  • You’ve enlightened me, Rochelle. 🙂 I wasn’t aware of that piece of their history about the mezusah. Good story. Is your new book, A Stone for the Journey going to be a part 4 to the Havah series, or about another story altogether? Is it released yet? The illustrations and paintings/drawings are always so detailed and well done. They all have such character, adding to the character. 🙂 The best to you in all your work.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Joyce,

      Havah found the mezuzah in the dirt amid the ruins of Natalya in PLEASE SAY KADDISH FOR ME. This particular snippet is found toward the beginning of FROM SILT AND ASHES. Although I put a different spin on it. I guess you could call A STONE FOR THE JOURNEY the 4th book in the series. My publisher refers to it as a companion. It will have the illustrations I’ve been working on and posting as well as excerpts from the three novels and a few new stories the characters have told me. 😉 I am excited about this book for long before I discovered I could write I wanted to be an artist.
      Thank you for coming by.

      Shalom, my friend,


      Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Christine,

      The longer version of this will be in A STONE FOR THE JOURNEY which Is slowly but surely coming together. Of course the even longer version is can be found in my second novel FROM SILT AND ASHES 😉 Thank you.



      Liked by 1 person

  • Dear Rochelle,

    I so love these excerpts (modified or no 😉 ) Though I had noticed those little wooden “thingies” on doorframes, and I realised they were on Jewish doorframes, I never realised there was a scroll within. Always learning with you, my friend!

    Lotsa love,


    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Dale,

      Happy to educate you on the subject of door thingies. 😉 We never had them when I was growing up but my grandfather did. No one ever told me what they were about until I was in my teens. Glad you like my stories so much. Makes me smile. 😀 Thank you.



      Liked by 1 person

      • Door thingies, door doohickeys… very official-sounding, don’t you think? Now, not only do I know what they are called but what they mean!
        I like to make people smile 😀


  • How miraculous the continued existence of the mezuzah must be to Havah, having lost so much. A symbol of the continuity of her faith, of God in a troubled world. Touching too, how it evokes such strong memories of her brother. Beautifully and emotionally written as always.
    Thank you for the video – very informative and interesting.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Lynn,

      I couldn’t have hired someone to write a better review. 😉 I don’t know if it’s a tribute to my writing or to your sensitivity as a reader. You caught every intended nuance. Highly gratifying.
      The video was kind of a last minute insert. Glad to have found it.
      Thank you.




  • Such small things can hold a world of memories.
    I must apologise now for not visiting many other blogs this week. I have lost access to my usual browser and everything I need to do is taking me AGES. I may have to visit – and pay – a technician 😦

    Liked by 1 person

  • Dear Rochelle, This was a very sensitive piece. As I read the lines, I figured that David might not be around during this. Then I read the comments and realized that it was true. As usual, well written and thanks for introducing something new to us.

    Cheers, Varad

    Liked by 1 person

  • Dear Georgia O’Keeffe Burns W(T)F,

    My dad would classify that as a keepsake. The only memento he had of my grandfather’s was a knife that he kept in a drawer. I was allowed to look at it and touch it, but that’s as far as it went. Perhaps this explains why I get teary-eyed every time I hear the song “The Randal Knife” by Guy Clark.

    Enough work, back to loafing
    Dudley Do-No-Wrong

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Dudley Do (No?) Wrong,

      For me it was a set of Howdy Doody plastic cake ornaments from my brother’s sixth birthday cake my mom would never let me play with. Thanks to her foresight they still exist in my printer’s drawer. Here’s to keepsakes.


      Georgia O’Keeffe Burns W(T)F

      Liked by 1 person

  • I hope wherever David is, he’s continuing to watch over her and she will always have those words in her heart. So touching and filled with love, Rochelle.

    P.S: I love the quote you started the post with. Without reciprocity there wouldn’t be any community. People need to talk to each other and visit each other more often.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Soumya,

      Thank you for your sweet comment.

      The quote came from our own FF’r Neil McDonald when I struck up a discussion about reciprocity. I get a bit irritated with those who merely leave their stories on the link, neither commenting or even replying. There are some who never comment on mine and, after a while, I stop commenting on their stories. 😉

      Thank you again,




  • Thank you for sharing your Jewish traditions with us! I think the Mezuzah is a beautiful concept of protection and a reminder of God in the home. Like a true sanctuary. It’s tragically beautiful, this story of David and Havah. The word “shin” struck me because it sounds so similar to the arabic letter “sheen”. Your progress on your novels inspire me to finish my own! All the best with your work, Rochelle!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Fatima,

      The Hebrew letter is actually pronounce sheen also. There are many similarities between the two languages. I wish there was more peace between the peoples who speak them.

      I’ve only put up mezuzahs in my own home over the past ten years. My grandfather had them in his home.

      Thank you for your kind and affirming words.



      Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Anita,

      In the book she found it amid the rubble of her destroyed village months after her family had been massacred. Perhaps it became and heirloom passed from generation to generation. 😀 Thank you.




  • I love it! I used to have a little pottery mazuzah that hung on our door jamb for decades, salvaged from my Gr. Grands home (stolen, really). Had it up until we moved to KY, then, it was stolen, found shattered in the parking lot after our home was broken into.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Dear Jelli,

      I’m so sorry about your mezuzah…not to mention your home being broken into. I want to get one for my office doorjamb since I spend more time in here than any other room. It needs to be one I can stick up with two sided tape. Maybe the kind they make for automobiles. (Which I’ve never been able to keep stuck). At any rate, thank you for stopping by. I hope you’re feeling better than you have been. ❤



      Liked by 1 person

      • I know what you mean. Where we live now, there’s no place to really attach it on the outside of the door, so I’ll have to put one on the inside. I used to hang the mazuzah right above the “burden basket” just outside the door. Now, though, I think I’ll do it inside so it doesn’t get stolen.

        Liked by 2 people

  • When I don’t understand a word, or a person or the plot in your story, ( I’m not familiar with Jewish culture) I find that by conscientiously reading all the comments I can piece your tour de force all together !!!
    You sound very busy and very creative… it must feel good … XXXX

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dearest Valerie,

      It always makes me smile when you make your way to my purple page. Thank you for taking the time to plod through the comments, too.
      Lately I’m finding that “retirement” is very busy. When did I have time to work? I’m joyously pursuing watercolour which is something I’ve wanted to be able to do for a long time. The fact that someone actually wants to publish some of them in a book is doubly exciting. At the same time, as a friend told me a couple of years ago, retirement has also been about having lunch and reconnecting with good friends.

      Thank you for coming by.

      Love and Shalom,



  • Loved the story and comments Rochelle. Coincidentally a question was posed to us at our last Bible study. Why were the Israelites instructed to place blood on the sides and top of the door, and not the bottom? I went with, it’s symbolic of walking under authority. Shalom.
    With Joy,

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Dan,

      I’d never thought about why the Israelites weren’t instructed to put blood at the bottom of the doorposts. But I think I’ll go with your interpretation. It makes perfect sense to me. 😉 Thank you for your comments and compliments.



      Liked by 1 person

  • Hi Rochelle – glad your book is coming together (and I bet you have “book head” on some days)
    anyhow, I enjoyed your 100 words of fiction here… and it helped that I watched the video first – not sure what led me there- but the 40 second video primed me – and then your piece was more insightful.

    and how nice to have the “mezuzah” salvaged – so nice.

    Liked by 1 person

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