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Wednesday, June 09, 2004

This could make you cry

You should read all of Rick's post about The Great American Yiddish Novelist, Isaac Bashevis Singer.

From his quote of Jonathan Rosen's essay on this American master:
When, during the First World War, an order of expulsion comes to the shtetl where the hero grew up, the pious rabbi finds himself fleeing next to the town atheist:
Reb Dan’s wagon drew up alongside the cart on which Jekuthiel the watchmaker sat, the tools of his trade piled around him. He looked at the rabbi and smiled sadly. "Nu, rabbi?" he said.

It was clear that what he meant was: Where is your Lord of the Universe now? Where are His miracles? Where is your faith in Torah and prayer?

"Nu, Jekuthiel," the rabbi answered. What he was saying was: Where are your worldly remedies? Where is your trust in the gentiles? What have you accomplished by aping Esau?

So sadly beautiful, it could make you cry.

Good thing history is not repetitive.