Kafka Estate’s Lawyers Helpless Before the Law
Israel claims papers for National Library, is also the doorkeeper
BEFORE THE LAW stands the doorkeeper [Israel]. To the doorkeeper there comes a man from the country [who represents Franz Kafka’s literary estate] and prays for admittance to the Law [so that he can recover Kafka’s papers, which were held by Kafka’s friend Max Brod, and passed down when he died to a German cat-lady named Eva Hoffe, and which are claimed by both the estate and the National Library in Jerusalem]. But the doorkeeper says that he cannot grant admittance at the moment. The man thinks it over and then asks if he will be [granted Kafka’s papers] later. “It is possible,” says the doorkeeper, “but not at the moment.” Since the gate stands open, as usual, and the doorkeeper steps to one side, the man stoops to peer through the gateway into the interior. Observing that, the doorkeeper laughs and says: “If you are so drawn to it, just try to go in despite my veto. But take note: I am powerful. And I am only the least of the doorkeepers. From hall to hall there is one doorkeeper after another, each more powerful than the last. The third doorkeeper is already so terrible that even I cannot bear to look at him.” These are difficulties the man from the country has not expected; the Law, he thinks, should surely be accessible at all times and to everyone, but as he now takes a closer look at [Israel], with his big sharp nose and long, thin, black Tartar beard, he decides that it is better to wait until he gets permission to enter. [Then he accuses Israel of engaging in actions “unworthy of a democratic state,” reminiscent of “dark, despotic regimes.” He adds, “A foul odor of ‘nationalization’ is being emitted in this case. Any fair-minded person who reviews the materials will feel uneasy about the ugly efforts made by the state for years to wrest control of the Kafka papers.”] [The End.]
Daily rate: $2
Monthly rate: $18
Yearly rate: $180
WAIT, WHY DO I HAVE TO PAY TO COMMENT?
Tablet is committed to bringing you the best, smartest, most enlightening and entertaining reporting and writing on Jewish life, all free of charge. We take pride in our community of readers, and are thrilled that you choose to engage with us in a way that is both thoughtful and thought-provoking. But the Internet, for all of its wonders, poses challenges to civilized and constructive discussion, allowing vocal—and, often, anonymous—minorities to drag it down with invective (and worse). Starting today, then, we are asking people who'd like to post comments on the site to pay a nominal fee—less a paywall than a gesture of your own commitment to the cause of great conversation. All proceeds go to helping us bring you the ambitious journalism that brought you here in the first place.
I NEED TO BE HEARD! BUT I DONT WANT TO PAY.
Readers can still interact with us free of charge via Facebook, Twitter, and our other social media channels, or write to us at email@example.com. Each week, we’ll select the best letters and publish them in a new letters to the editor feature on the Scroll.
We hope this new largely symbolic measure will help us create a more pleasant and cultivated environment for all of our readers, and, as always, we thank you deeply for your support.