“How could this happen? She has betrayed me! But no, I can’t believe that. Oh HaShem, Almighty God, help me! I don’t know what to do!”
Joseph sits outside of his home on a bench that he had crafted. He stares at the wood slats. He brushes his rough and callused hands along the grain of the wood. It is a familiar and comforting act. Wood is something pure; something he understands. He wonders why everything can’t be as pure as wood.
“She swore she was pure, that she had not known a man! Yet now she comes and says she is with child?! And what is her explanation? That she has been visited by a messenger of HaShem and she is with child by the Spirit of Ha Shem! That this child is the Messiah! How can I believe that!”
Joseph sees her in his memory. Just yesterday she came to him with the news. She interrupted him at his workbench, and for a moment he became irritated. Then he turned and saw her face and all irritation melted away. He could not stay upset with her. She was so young. Her face was so fair, yet so plain. A plain, good, pure Jewish girl who had captured his heart.
“Doesn’t she understand what this means? Shame and disgrace will come. The family will disown her. By our law she could even be stoned to death! How could she do this?! Why did she do this?!”
Joseph remembers her face as she told him the news. Her lips did not tremble. Her voice was steady, unwavering and filled with sure conviction. She did not even lower her head, but looked him straight in the face. Her deep brown eyes were clear and held no hint of deception. And, he remembered something about her face that he could not quite grasp even now. Something that he had never seen in anyone before. A trace of light framed her countenance as she spoke.
“Was it true? Had she been in the presence of the holy messenger? Had the Holy Spirit of HaShem overshadowed her? Was she a virgin carrying holy seed? NO, it was impossible! Yet, did not the holy messenger tell her that nothing would be impossible with God?”
He has made up his mind. Joseph cannot bear to see her accused publicly. He will arrange a quiet divorce and see as best as he can to her care. It tears his soul to think of parting, even under these circumstances. He slumps on the bench, weary with turmoil. Joseph’s eyelids grow heavy and he sinks into an uneasy slumber…and begins to dream.
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