Summary (Masterplots II: Short Story Series, Revised Edition)
At the beginning of “A Whole Loaf,” the narrator’s suggestive comment, “I had made no preparations on Sabbath eve, so I had nothing to eat on the Sabbath,” explains why he leaves his home in search of a meal. Other reasons for going out are the hellish heat at home and his sense of loneliness, for his wife and children are still abroad and he has to see to his own needs.
The protagonist thus joins other strollers at the end of the Sabbath day, partaking of the cool Jerusalem air. Soon he is distracted from his search for a restaurant by the great sage Dr. Yekutiel Ne’eman, sitting by his window. Expecting a word of wisdom, he hears Dr. Ne’eman rebuking him for not doing something to reunite the family back in Jerusalem.
The narrator then tells of Dr. Ne’eman’s book, which has raised heated debate concerning its authenticity but which the sage claims to be a record of the words of Lord. Some believe that the book is authentic, whereas others hold that it is merely Dr. Ne’eman’s own writings, attributed by him to an unknown and never-seen Lord. One undisputed effect of the book, observes the narrator, has been that people have bettered themselves by it, whereas others devote themselves heart and soul to keeping every word in it. Praising the book, the hero is surprised and grieved when Dr. Ne’eman leaves the window. Returning soon, however, he gives the hero a packet of letters to be posted. Accepting the task, the hero...
(The entire section is 967 words.)
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