Sunday, May 18, 2008
The Book That Brings It All To Life
Get Yours Here
In case you were wondering which book I was reading all this time, here it is, in all its glory, except that I paid a buck forty two for it, 688 pages and hard cover, not bad at all. Now the lowest priced one at amazon is 7 bucks and change. In any case it's well worth the few dollars, because it'll give you days and days of good reading with very little that you need to hide from your children. The few references to what may be considered taboo are over very quickly and are written in a "refined" manner, at least the after-censor result is that. Not that I have, but if any of you have read the yiddish writer IBS you'll know that his books are filled to the brim with vulgar language, Der Nister's work is not.
The book is basically a history of the town "N." in the late 19th century. N turns out to Berditchev, where Rav Dovid Ortenberg, the Baal תהלה לדוד was Rav. It describes in great detail the day-to-day life of all classes of that mostly Jewish town, as well as the Polish minorities, including the noblemen. While reading the accounts you cannot help but be taken back to that simpler, more difficult time, and you feel like you're there in Berditchev, walking the streets, davening in its shuls and shopping in its markets. You can imagine the riches of the rich, and you can almost taste the bitterness of the poor and impoverished. And when we speak of poor and impoverished we mean those who starved for a piece of bread and froze in the winter. Der Nister manages to bring it all to life. For the most part you think you're reading a story - tragic, but still a story - of a town, with the focus on one family , the family of Moshe Mashber. Only later do you realize that there's a message in the story.