The very essence of literature is the war between emotion and intellect, between life and death. When literature becomes too intellectual - when it begins to ignore the passions, the emotions - it becomes sterile, silly, and actually without substance.
When a day passes, it is no longer there. What remains of it? Nothing more than a story. If stories weren't told or books weren't written, man would live like the beasts, only for the day. The whole world, all human life, is one long story.
What do these children do without storybooks?" Naftali asked. And Reb Zebulun replied: "They have to make do. Storybooks aren't bread. You can live without them." I couldn't live without them." Naftali said.
Literature has neglected the old and their emotions. The novelists never told us that in love, as in other matters, the young are just beginners and that the art of loving matures with age and experience.
Heaven and earth conspire that everything which has been, be rooted and reduced to dust. Only the dreamers, who dream while awake, call back the shadows of the past and braid nets from the unspun thread.
Every creator painfully experiences the chasm between his inner vision and its ultimate expression. The chasm is never completely bridged. We all have the conviction, perhaps illusory, that we have much more to say than appears on the paper.
We all play chess with Fate as partner. He makes a move, we make a move. He tries to checkmate us in three moves, we try to prevent it. We know we can't win, but we're driven to give him a good fight.
People often say that humans have always eaten animals, as if this is a justification for continuing the practice. According to this logic, we should not try to prevent people from murdering other people, since this has also been done since the earliest of times.
No technological achievements can mitigate the disappointment of modern man, his loneliness, his feeling of inferiority, and his fear of war, revolution and terror. Not only has our generation lost faith in Providence but also in man himself, in his institutions and often in those who are nearest to him.
As often as Herman had witnessed the slaughter of animals and fish, he always had the same thought: in their behaviour towards creatures, all men were Nazis. The smugness with which man could do with other species as he pleased exemplified the most extreme racist theories, the principle that might is right.
I know as a writer how valuable a tool is the wastebasket. Perhaps God throws away many experiments before He finds the right expression. Perhaps we are the discards - or we could be the part He keeps. This mystery is what keeps us all going, to see what happens in the next chapter.
Various philosophers and religious leaders tried to convince their disciples and followers that animals are nothing more than machines without a soul, without feelings. However, anyone who has ever lived with an animal-be it a dog, a bird, or even a mouse-knows that this theory is a brazen lie, invented to justify cruelty.
A rock was sticking out of the water, jagged and pointed, covered with moss--a remnant of the Ice Age. It had withstood the rains, the snows, the frost, the heat. It was afraid of no one. It did not need redemption, it had already been redeemed.
There is great treasure there behind our skull and this is true about all of us. This little treasure has great, great powers, and I would say we only have learnt a very, very small part of what it can do.
The truth is that what the great religions preached, the Yiddish-speaking people of the ghettos practiced day in and day out. They were the people of The Book in the truest sense of the word. They knew of no greater joy than the study of man and human relations, which they called Torah, Talmud, Mussar, Cabala.
Writing has power, but its power has no vector. Writers can stir the mind, but they can't direct it. Time changes things, God changes things, the dictators change things, but writers can't change anything.
To be a vegetarian is to disagree - to disagree with the course of things today... starvation, cruelty - we must make a statement against these things. Vegetarianism is my statement. And I think it's a strong one.
The Yiddish mentality is not haughty. It does not take victory for granted. It does not demand and command but it muddles through, sneaks by, smuggles itself amidst the powers of destruction, knowing somewhere that God's plan for Creation is still at the very beginning.
There is a quiet humor in Yiddish and a gratitude for every day of life, every crumb of success, each encounter of love... In a figurative way, Yiddish is the wise and humble language of us all, the idiom of a frightened and hopeful humanity.
The Jewish people have been in exile for 2,000 years; they have lived in hundreds of countries, spoken hundreds of languages and still they kept their old language, Hebrew. They kept their Aramaic, later their Yiddish; they kept their books; they kept their faith.