Today, I finally got around to reading a stack of WSJ book reviews. In one early January 2015 issue of the paper, the book, Milton Steinberg's As a Driven Leaf, was the topic. While reading the review, two things stood out that got my interest. Here they are:
- “It is not in our power,” a dictum of the Jewish sages runs, “to explain either the happiness of the wicked nor the suffering of the righteous.” (Ah, so much to say here but will not. The discussion would look at juxtapositions, especially those related to the next bullet.)
- “Their success, I am convinced, followed from the fact that they started from the foundations. We, on the contrary, have always tried to bolster a pre-established case.” (This quote is from the main character in the novel. He, a Jewish scholar, become apostate. Why is this of interest? Well, we can look around to see how all of the various belief systems handle their apostatic brothers and sisters - we do not have to go far to find violent (criminal) reactions. ... In any case, this does apply to truth and its engineering.)
So, now that I have run across this book and see its usefulness, I went to look for the other opinions. And, found out that there are plenty. So, bear with me, as here is another list (just a sampling):
- The Jewish Week (12/16/2014) -- announcement of a reading (so, topic is relevant).
- Susan Dworkin -- listener guide (same site, thoughts on Bess Myerson).
- Watershed On-line -- review.
- MyJewishLearning -- a little about Milton and more.
- Finally, about the author.
Now, before proceeding, we'll pause (How long? Remember our comment about time). Let us just say that it is nice to see either/or being prominent (about which we'll weigh in). As in, too, being concerned about subjects other than whose pocket book is fuller (ah, saw, today, some gigantic arse, jetting around (to Davos - whatever), yet telling the lowly people to not live above their means - as in, do as I say, not ...).
Remarks: Modified: 01/23/2015
01/23/2015 -- I would be remiss without adding a very much related topic. You see, this book came out of one of several threads that we can see on the planet. That is, the culture of the 12 (or so) tribes whose remnants are still with us today as a small collection of threads. At the same time, we can pinpoint other threads. For one, there is a collection of those who this year celebrate the 800th of the first Magna Charta (MC) sealing; that is, these folks are descendants of the players on that scene, whether of John, himself, or of the Barons or of others who were there. Then, we can pick many other threads. For instance, several come from the Orient. Then, we have the other continents. BTW, there is no attempt at doing an enumeration. The MC event was several 100 years after the setting of the "as a driven leaf" tale. In any case, if we only went back half of that time between then and the MC, everyone here would have trillions of ancestors (reduced by intermarriage, of course - whatever the case, it's a very large number). That is, throughout the whole of the time span, there were generation after generation of ancestors without a gap.