In the Beginning
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David Lurie learns that all beginnings are hard. He must fight for his place against the bullies in his Depression-shadowed Bronx neighborhood and his own frail health. As a young man, he must start anew and define his own path of personal belief that diverges sharply with his devout father and everything he has been taught....
From the Paperback edition.
Ramban. I was finding the Ramban difficult to understand. “Be patient, David. Forty-year-old men find the Ramban difficult to understand. There will be things in Rashi you will not understand. Be patient.” We read a little segment of the Ramban. There was a tap at the door. Mr. Bader looked at his watch and blinked. “So fast? My God. All right, Miriam.” At the door I said to Mrs. Bader, “Can I just show you these lines in my notebook? I copied them from one of the German books.” “Of course,”
unrolling the living room carpet. “This is different from the last time you moved, isn’t it?” said my uncle in his gentle smiling way. “Do you remember?” I remembered vaguely a time of darkness and horror. “Yes,” he said. “This is different.” He watched Alex and my father handling with ease the heavy living room sofa in response to my mother’s directions. “You should replace the carpet, Ruth,” said my aunt. “We bought it when we were married,” my mother said as if in the carpet’s defense.
Commentary would have led me directly to Hoffmann and Wellhausen and the others. The rabbi of the non-Orthodox synagogue preached smoothly and clearly. But I would not return to that synagogue; an organ was played during the service and I felt my Orthodox religious sensibility violated. I decided to return to my father’s synagogue and endure in silence the carnage inflicted upon the text of the Torah by the aged reader. On the second Shabbat in July we came out of the little synagogue, my
them said loudly. He ran a store off Canal Street that replaced crystals in watches. “Hey, Jack, this is Max Lurie’s boy! You used to be such a skinny kid we thought the wind would carry you away.” It was later while walking toward the East Broadway station of the subway that I remembered he was the man who had wrestled with my father during that picnic in the pine wood years ago. How many years? I went down the subway steps into the dank coolness of the station, holding tightly to the black
“Where’s Papa?” “Talking to your Uncle Meyer.” “Is there any more news, Mama?” “Yes. The Angel of Death worked hard last week. Please eat your lunch, darling, and don’t wait for your father. He will be late.” The sun burned red in the pale early afternoon sky. Deep inside the forest I rode a black stallion, holding in my right hand the long slender curving branch that was my saber. Around the marsh, Nathan, I yelled. We will meet them on their left when they come out. Ride, all of you! Ride!