The Spectral Wonder of It All


This is a follow-up to “Of Biblical Proportions” (incest/taboo – 9/24/2020).


This was the first Yom Kippur in years that Max Brodsky would not be sitting in synagogue alone. Meriam, his beloved wife, was always by his side during high holiday services. Then, after she died, he went alone and sat alone. Yom Kippur, the most solemn of Jewish holidays when Jews atone for their sins, had been even more solemn since Meriam left him and his daughter Debra.

But this year would be different because Debra would be joining him. Of course, that wasn’t the only reason. Per the purpose of the holiday, Max and Debra, along with the other worshipers, would be atoning for their sins, asking God to inscribe them into the Book of Life. Max knew that was a lot to ask, considering that he had violated a sacred no no of the bible. Not only did he and Debra expose their “nakedness” to one another, they had committed incest. Debra, not nearly as devout as Max, lacked the sense of guilt that he felt. Sure, she knew it was wrong, a universal taboo. However, she wasn’t fully convinced of an afterlife, and therefore a judgement day. And even if there was, wouldn’t God forgive her if for no other reason than she gave pleasure to a grieving man, a man who grieved so much for his deceased wife that he had yet to find another woman to take her place? Besides that, she couldn’t deny the pleasure she herself received from exposing her lovely nakedness to her handsome dad and then having him make beautiful love to her.

Max rationalized it also. Debra, in face and body, looked so much like her mom that he could almost believe it was Meriam he was making love to, Meriam who was spreading her long, beautiful legs and then guiding his thick cock into her, Meriam who moaned and groaned and pleaded for more. Yet the sense of wrong lingered, however much he rationalized. But a merciful God forgave, did he not?

At least he hoped so as he stood before his bedroom mirror, adjusting his red and blue striped tie. He also wore a blue, long-sleeved dress shirt and a gray, single-breasted pinstripe suit and black dress shoes. Grabbing a brush, he slicked down the sides of his brown hair, worn with a part on the left side. The suit was close to ten years old and fit him as well now as it did when Meriam was alive, when he was still in his thirties. He had always exercised, keeping his six-foot-two solid frame fit and trim via tennis and weight machines. There would be no games today, no food or drink either, for the devout Jew fasted on Yom Kippur.

Normally, Debra didn’t fast, but today she’d make an exception. She’d do it for Max, just as she would be sitting in synagogue for a few hours for him. She dressed conservatively, at least for her, in a dark blue dress hemmed just above her knees and low heels. Standing in front of her own mirror, she couldn’t decide to put her hair up or leave it flowing down her back. Max had told her she looked sexy either way but loved it when she shook it down from wearing it up. She primped and prodded, pushing it up, and then letting it fall below her shoulders. Finally, she decided to leave it down, parted in the middle. She laughed to herself because she didn’t think she was as fussy about the way she looked as many women—most of the time, at least. She got that way when she had a special man in her life. Now she did, and that man happened to be her dad, and he was special in a way that would make her relatives and friends cringe and cause Max to be banished from the synagogue.

Max was waiting for her in the living room of their suburban split-level house. “You look beautiful, as always,” he said when she came down the stairs.

“And you look as hot as ever,” she said. Before they became intimate, she had never used that adjective to describe him. It was handsome or good-looking. But hot he now was, and hot SHE now was, admiring the way his clothes fit his tall, broad-shouldered form.

With his suit jacket draped over his shoulder, holding it up with one finger, he wrapped his free arm around her. “Honey, being that it’s the Day of Atonement, we’ll need to exercise self-restraint and self-denial. At least until sundown. Of course, you know that already.”

She leaned in for a light kiss. Then: “I do know that. And sundown can’t come fast enough for me.”

After a short drive in his green Subaru Forester, they got to the synagogue a few minutes before services were to begin at nine. After showing his tickets at the door, he and Debra stood in the hall just outside the main sanctuary. A plush, dark red rug carpeted the floor, and glass-enclosed memorabilia sat on shelving nearby. Debra enjoyed watching this display, the silver wine cups, brass menorahs, photos of past rabbis and of the building’s ground-breaking in the early nineteen-sixties.

Moments later, they saw the bespectacled Rabbi Samuel Katzen approach, wearing his long white prayer robe and a big, pill box type kippah atop his full head of white hair. He was in his early sixties, and had known Max and Meriam for years. In fact, he had married them. gaziantep escort ilanları

“Max, nice to see you,” he said. Despite his age, his voice remained strong, and he clipped his words in the precise kind of diction that many rabbis did. He and Max shook hands. “And nice to see you too, young lady,” he said to Debra. “You’re very pretty, looking so much like Meriam. It’s a pleasure seeing you here again. It’s been a while. Are you in college now?”

Debra held a relaxed smile, holding her hands in front of her. At five-foot-ten, she was at least an inch taller than Rabbi Katzen. “Yes, sophomore year. My dad had an extra ticket, so I decided to be a good Jew for a change. I’m even fasting.”

The rabbi chuckled. “Well, a good Jew doesn’t necessarily attend services regularly, but tries to do the right thing, obey God’s commandments. As I’m sure you do.”

She stifled a laugh when she and Max glanced at one another. Max looked down and cleared his throat.

“Um, well, I try, rabbi, I try. You know, to be a good person.”

The rabbi nodded. “Well, nice seeing you both. Enjoy the service.” He glanced at his watch. “Meanwhile, I better get to work.”

“If he only knew,” Max said, shaking his head.

Debra drew a wry smile. “I won’t tell if you don’t.”

The main sanctuary was built during the Kennedy administration, a time when many of the inner-city shuls, including Beth El, sold their buildings to Black churches and moved to the suburbs. Debra hadn’t been here in a few years, though it still looked the way she remembered it, with its parquet floor, stained glass depicting biblical scenes on both side walls and plush seats upholstered in a blue fabric. Behind the bema was the ark where the Torah scrolls were kept. The seats weren’t even half-filled, for the majority of worshipers didn’t arrive until after ten. The cantor ran most of the service, chanting the prayers in Hebrew, backed by a choir at times. Max could read it fluently. Debra could at one time, though she recalled enough to follow the text. Congregants stood for the most sacred prayers, like the Shema and the Amidah, recited several times during the course of the service. The redundant nature of the service was one reason that Debra didn’t like going to synagogue. “God can hear us the first time,” she once quipped. For her, it was something to be endured, as it was for many, even among the most devout. At least she wouldn’t be sitting here all day like some of these people. When she went with both her parents, they stayed to around noon, then went home. Max would then return in the late afternoon for the conclusion of the service and the blowing of the shofar, while Meriam prepared the break-fast, evening meal and Debra hung out with neighborhood friends.

Of course, it hadn’t been the same since Meriam passed on. It never is when a loved one dies. Yet Max took comfort in Debra’s company and her plan to at least re-create a semblance of what Yom Kippur was like when it was the three of them. He’d return to services in the afternoon, then come home to find the traditional break-fast meal waiting for him—bagels, scrambled eggs, fruit, cheese blintzes and orange juice. As the ancient Hebrew prayer from the Book of Lamentations goes: “Take us back, O Lord and let us come back; renew our days as of old.”

But days of old didn’t include sex with his daughter, something that ran through Max’s mind as he recited the prayers and touched the Torah during the traditional ceremony when someone would walk the sacred scrolls around the sanctuary and congregants would reach out and touch it. It didn’t include swiping his hand over Debra’s luscious tanned legs during the service, however discreet. And it sure didn’t include Debra whispering in his ear, “I’m hungry but still horny.”

Oh, the irreverence of it all on this most reverent of days; oh, the perverted incongruity. How could a man who had done what he had done—what he still had this overwhelming desire to do—reconcile? The fact is, he couldn’t. He was sitting there atoning for a sin that he knew damn well he’d repeat—and most likely repeat in just a few hours. Debra looked so sexy sitting there, legs crossed, with the hem of her dress pushed three-quarters up her firm, shapely thighs, along with her fruity, natural scent mixed with a touch of whatever commercial scent she had splashed on. He was hungry, too, all right, and not just for those scrambled eggs and cheese blintzes.

Around noon, he and Debra walked out into the hall to leave. The hall was crowded with people standing around, lots of dressed-up teens, socializing as if they were at a house party, and others coming and going. He knew that many of these people only attended services twice a year, on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. Twice a year Jews, as some called them. Max exchanged pleasantries with the more active people he knew, including Jerome and Francine Weinberg, also Beth El members. Since Meriam died, the Weinbergs were used to seeing Max here alone. “Well, what a pleasant gaziantep escort bayan ilanları surprise,” Francine said upon seeing Debra. “It’s about time your dad had some company on Yom Kippur. How are you, Deb?”

“Doing great, studying hard in college.” And doing other things that would have you screaming in horror, Debra thought.

Jerome, a short, balding man wearing a dark, three-piece suit, said, “Debra, I know I’m not the only one who’s said this, but you look so much like Meriam. Doesn’t she, Max?”

Max nodded. “Truth to tell, Jerome, it’s almost like having the young Meriam beside me, as if I was in some sort of time warp.” Max wondered if he had said the wrong thing when Jerome and Francine drew open-mouth expressions that suggested they didn’t quite know what to make of that line. “It’s a comforting feeling is what I mean,” he added.

“Oh, I’m sure it is,” Francine said, primping the back of her short, frosted hair. “I imagine you still miss her terribly, especially on the high holidays. So I guess you two are headed out.”

“I’ll be back later,” Max revealed, “while Deb here prepares our meal. Not exactly like when Meriam was alive, but close.”

“I make a mean cheese blintz,” Debra volunteered. “I also managed to find some ripe honeydew. Dad especially likes ripe, juicy melons. Right dad?” She looked at him and grinned.

“Um, right…juicy melons are a favorite of mine. Perfect for the holiday.” He shot Debra a pregnant look, then continued. “Deb’s been studying her mom’s old recipes.” He threw an affectionate arm around her shoulders.

Francine drew a warm smile. “Aw, I bet father and daughter have gotten a lot closer since Meriam passed away.”

Wearing the same knowing, shit-eating grin, Debra looked up at Max and said, “Yes, we certainly have. My dad can vouch for that.” She winked.

Max didn’t want to respond. However, with the Weinbergs looking at him for some sort of confirmation, he felt he had to say something. Fumbling awkwardly with the middle button of his suit jacket, he said, “Well, it only makes sense that we’d get closer, considering it’s now only us left in our immediate Brodsky family.” He paused to watch Jerome and Francine nod. Then: “Well, we’re outta here. Nice seeing you guys. Shana Tova.”

When they stepped outside on the parking lot, Debra said, “I hope you’re not upset with me. I just couldn’t resist having a little fun.”

Max chuckled. “Actually, it was kind of funny. At least to us. Lord help us if they ever got the joke.”

When they got in the car, Debra said, “Speaking of melons, honeydew really is on the menu for tonight. Then there’s dessert. Care to guess what that is?” She gestured by slipping a strap of her dress off her left shoulder.

“Additional melons, I imagine. The kind you hinted at to the Weinbergs.” He shook his head, trying to imagine their reaction if they ever did get the joke.


Since Yom Kippur fell on a Saturday that year, Max took off his sports coat, loosened his tie, kicked off his dress shoes, and then threw himself in front of the TV to watch college football. Weakened from fasting, his energy level wasn’t high enough for much else other than passive entertainment.

Debra, meanwhile, because she wasn’t returning to synagogue, changed into something more comfortable, her usual house attire of shorts and a loose top sans bra, and then snuggled next to him on the sofa. She was a football fan herself, rooting for the Maryland Terps and still lamenting the loss two years ago of the Colts to Indianapolis. She leaned against Max’s shoulder, with her legs bent, her bare heels pressed against the edge of the sofa cushion and the tops of her “melons” exposed above her V-neck blouse.

Max averted his eyes from the game and looked down. His empty, growling stomach notwithstanding, his libido began to kick in, just as it did on that day in the kitchen, father-daughter hanky-panky that began at the kitchen table and ended in Debra’s bedroom.

Debra noticed him noticing. “Dad, the game is over there, not down here.” She tugged down the top of her garment so he could get a better look. “Of course, if you’d rather watch ME, I won’t object.” She reached out and placed her hand over his crotch. “Oh my, on this day of all days. Even while fasting.”

He raised his hands as if surrendering. “What can I say? I find you incredibly desirable. Yes, even on this day of all days, even on an empty stomach.”

Debra was running on empty also, at least when it came to food and drink. Even so, she was becoming aroused just watching HIM becoming aroused. Sundown was hours away, and Max would be returning to Beth El for the final two hours of services. Presumably, their plan was to break their fast and then fool around. She didn’t want to wait that long and got the feeling that he didn’t either. “Dad, does this day of self-denial include sex as well?”

“I suppose it does, though when I went to Hebrew school, none of my teachers ever escort bayan gaziantep ilanları told us that.”

“What if I just sit on your lap? No laws broken there, right?” She grinned like a little girl asking for a new toy.

“Deb, the last time you sat on my lap, we ended up naked in your bedroom.” Just with the anticipation, he could feel his heart speed up a few beats.

“Which means that on this day of all days, we’ll need to be more disciplined. We can test ourselves. Think of it this way. When you’re on a diet, it’s easy to resist eating pie if you don’t have one in the house. But with one in the house, it takes a lot more discipline eating just a sliver of pie without eating a lot more.”

He dropped his hand to her leg and chuckled. “A fine analogy, Deb, I’ll have to admit. But things could get messy with just eating that sliver of pie. And I’d rather not have to change clothes before returning to services.” He paused when he saw her frown of disappointment. “Of course, we could think of it as an appetizer. Climb aboard.”

Debra hiked her shorts nearly up to her hips before straddling Max’s lap. He couldn’t resist sliding his hands along her smooth thighs and under her blouse. And she couldn’t resist dry-humping against his rising cock. The TV remained on, with the sounds of football being broadcast into the home, the cheering and the commentary, sounds that mixed with other sounds, soft moaning and lips locked in passionate embrace. “This is some appetizer,” Debra said, struggling not to scarf down the rest of that metaphorical pie she had mentioned.

However, she didn’t think it would hurt to take a few more bites out of it. She could feel his cock almost bursting out of his pants. “Look, dad, I can see that you could use some relief before returning to Beth El.”

“I can’t deny that I’m approaching the male condition known as blue balls. You might have heard of it.”

“I have. So if I ever had a rationalization for doing what I have in mind, this is it. Sit tight, I’ll be right back.” She hopped off his lap, rushed into the bathroom and got a towel. Upon returning, she said, “Don’t worry, it shouldn’t get too messy.”

After handing him the towel, she slipped off her blouse, then proceeded to take his pants and underwear down to his ankles. She then got onto her knees and squeezed his cock between her boobs.

“This is a new one on me,” he said, watching her doing him this way. “Whew, that feels good!”

“I figured it would.” She upped her pace, thoroughly enjoying this as much as he seemed to. She had always pleased both her parents, mainly by being a good student and staying clear of trouble makers. Now she was pleasing her dad in a way that was once inconceivable. And to think, it all started in Hebrew school when the class teacher, Mrs. Kauffman, told them the story of Lot and his daughters. It was an innocent lesson in Old Testament history—or at least one innocently told—and she reacted to it in a way that no one in her class, as far as she knew, ever did.

Her memory of that lesson lingered as her boobs kept on keeping on. Her back was getting a little tired, though she wasn’t too concerned because she knew, based on his reaction, the rhythm of his breathing and the hardness of his cock, that it wouldn’t be long before he climaxed, and she was right. The towel came in handy: no fuss, no mess.

Max fixed his clothes and resumed watching the game, while Debra retreated to her room to work on a school project. A couple hours later, he returned to Beth El for the concluding Yom Kippur service known as the Neilah, which means “closing the gate.” Some interpret it as the gates of heaven being closed for another year, expressed through repetitious prayer, recited through long minutes of standing; no mean feat while fasting.

Max stood and prayed and wondered if the gates of heaven were now closed to him. The prayers were meant for the truly righteous, sincere in their repentance. In spite of his sin, did his presence in synagogue and those prayers have him covered? Perhaps, perhaps not. Then again, maybe all this ritual was ultimately for naught anyway, because there might not be an All Mighty to hear them in the first place. He didn’t want to believe that, yet if there a supreme being, he didn’t want his wrath coming down on him either. But why would God care what two people in the world did behind closed doors? Surely, he had bigger issues and more important people to deal with. And would he even know, his supposed omnipotent and omnipresent powers notwithstanding.

Such questions played in his mind as he drove home. He looked forward to that break-fast meal, cheese blintzes, scrambled eggs, honey dew melon and then, afterward, not just a sliver of pie but the whole thing, consummating his less than righteous self with his less than righteous daughter who somehow found justification for her part in Genesis 19.

When he opened the door, he saw that she had traded her usual house clothes for something more seductive, a short, white, shiny kimono. She sat on the sofa, her lovely legs crossed, her garment short enough to where he could see up to her yellow laced panties. Her clear plastic shoes with black heels enhanced the smooth taper of her shapely calves. He blinked. “Wow! If I didn’t know better, I’d think that Hugh Heffner had lent me one of his Playboy cover girls for the night. Good thing you didn’t show up for services like that. The men wouldn’t get much praying done.”

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