Professor Mary Huffer
Reflection 3-“Gimpel the Fool” by Isaac Bashevis Singer
Gimpel is be perceived as a simpleton by the people that surround him although he does not agree with their assertion. Gimpel begins his tale, "I am Gimpel the Fool. I don't think myself a fool. On the contrary. But that's what folks call me (Singer)." Gimpel is actually a saint whose actions convey his innocence. When Gimpel references his interactions with his classmates, he states, "I was no weakling. If I slapped someone he'd see all the way to Cracow. But I'm really not a slugger by nature. I think to myself, 'Let it pass.' So they take advantage of me (Singer)." Gimpel’s words of a wise man that knows one should never entertain a fool because when you entertain a fool, the people on the outside looking in will be unable to decipher who the fool is.
Gimpel is a man of tremendous character and unwavering spirituality. His character is exhibited when stays with Elka despite her adulterous and treacherous ways. Gimpel’s unconditional love for children that he did not father is possible because of his staunch religious beliefs. In Gimpel’s words, "In the first place, everything is possible, as it is written in the Wisdom of the Fathers (Singer)." It is evident that Gimpel chooses believe what people tell him because he has faith in them just as he has faith in God. Gimpel’s frequent visits to the Rabbi is because he strives to seek wise council. Seeking wise council are not the actions of a fool.
Gimpel’s character is one of simplicity, innocence, true forgiveness and compassion. These traits exhibited when he forgives Elka for her infidelities and realizes how much he cares for Elka and the baby: "A longing took over me, for her and for the child. I wanted to be angry, but that's my misfortune exactly, I don't have it in me to be really angry (Singer)." Gimpel’s selflessness teaches us compassion and agape love.