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  • #619398

    rebshidduch
    Participant

    Lets start a nice good Jewish book list of recommendations. No comments besides for about books and books names, etc….. I will start:

    circle, arrow, spiral

    class acts

    little pink shoes

    let my nation go

    invisible me

    any recommendations? what do you think of these books?

    #1225722

    Lilmod Ulelamaid
    Participant

    Warning – According to halacha, it is assur to say anything negative about a book, so posters should be careful about their responses.

    If you have nothing good to say, say nothing. But don’t leave a blank post either.

    I am not commenting simply because I haven’t read any of the above books.

    #1225723

    Lightbrite
    Participant

    “But don’t leave a blank post either.” (LU)

    Lol 🙂

    True dat

    #1225725

    YesOrNo
    Participant

    The Hamantash that Ran Away

    #1225726

    zahavasdad
    Participant

    Warning – According to halacha, it is assur to say anything negative about a book, so posters should be careful about their responses.

    Do you same that as well for the Chosen and Portonoys Complaint?

    #1225728

    Lilmod Ulelamaid
    Participant

    Good sheilah. I assumed that any posts that mentioned such books would be deleted.

    #1225729

    Lilmod Ulelamaid
    Participant

    Or at least the first. I am not so familiar with the second.

    #1225730

    zahavasdad
    Participant

    It does shock me the in the frum commnity almost everyone has heard of the Chosen (Its actally is quite positive towards the frum community) but in the general secular world Portonys Complaint is one of the most famous books of Jewish Literature

    Anne Frank is probably the most famous jewish literature book

    #1225731

    zahavasdad
    Participant

    I should have said English Literature, not Jewish Literature as Kafka was better than Philip Roth, but Kafka wrote in German

    #1225732

    Lilmod Ulelamaid
    Participant

    “It does shock me the in the frum commnity almost everyone has heard of the Chosen (Its actally is quite positive towards the frum community) but in the general secular world Portonys Complaint is one of the most famous books of Jewish Literature”

    Which part shocks you?

    I grew up on Chaim Potok books. I don’t know if we had Portnoy’s Complaint at home or not. If we did, I never noticed it. I’m guessing it’s not as child-friendly as Chaim Potok, so I probably wouldn’t have noticed it if we had it.

    My parents took me to see The Chosen when I was about 12. My older sister yelled at me afterwards.

    #1225733

    rebshidduch
    Participant

    Lilmod, all the books mentioned are Jewish. The first one was written by Miriam Kosman and the second by Nachman Seltzer.

    #1225734

    Lilmod Ulelamaid
    Participant

    Rebshidduch, I know. That’s why it would be L”H for anyone to say anything negative about them.

    #1225735

    zahavasdad
    Participant

    Portonys Complaint is not by Chaim Potak, its by Philip Roth

    The reason I am shocked that so many frum people heard of the chosen is because many are not happy that the chassidish boy at the end becomes more modern and goes to college (The book never says he goes OTD from yiddishkeite, just doesnt want to be chassidish anymore) but I think for many it seems like he went OTD

    #1225736

    zdad – it’s an awful book and just because people know of it doesn’t mean we liked it. on its own, it explains the rebbe’s method of making sure that his son, who is obviously heading off the path, sticks to the Torah in some manner. the problem with the book, from what i understand, was the author’s view of chassidus and the Torah way.

    and this line “(Its actally is quite positive towards the frum community)” is just sad and twisted. I have always assumed you were educated in and raised in a more modern/less yeshivish derech and i assumed are living the life you grew up in. and that you have experienced tremendous chillul Hashem behavior from people who seem to misread some of your presentation as an attack on Torah instead of on what you were brought up to believe is a distortion of Torah (and sometimes is). but to say that it is positive that we like a book that is anti religion is dangerously confusing the difference between accepting PEOPLE who put down frum lifestyle, and accepting their views. and if they speak against Torah, you are actually obligated to hate them. Unfortunately we are better at the hate part then at the explaining what we hate and worrying about how it appears to others who are not familiar with either the halacha or the person’s deeds.

    I know you say it doesn’t bother you, but bulldozing someone who is defending what they were taught without educating them is just a way of preserving their poor perception of some of jews way of life.

    #1225737

    zahavasdad
    Participant

    SY

    I went to a MO High School and I read it there. Because its controversial it wasnt madatory and the teacher was forced to give people a choice either the Chosen or some other book (I forgot the name)

    Did you read the book or are you just qutoting people who may or might not have read the book and just decided it was bad.

    You also forget the other part of the book, while it is true the Chassidic boy did become more modern. The More modern boy became more relgious, again maybe not what his father wanted

    #1225738

    Geordie613
    Participant

    If you’re looking for books on Gedolim, but don’t want to read a very long biography, I highly recommend ‘Inside Their Homes’. It’s an Artscroll book, ghost written by Nachman Seltzer. The author is identified simply as Reb Binyomin, but he was in Mir in my day, so I know who he is. He gives us a close up view of the Gedolim of our generation, which one does not necessarily get from the ordinary biographies.

    Another book, Jewish but not a frum book which is very interesting, is ‘The Prime Ministers’ by Yehuda Avner. The author was a senior Israeli diplomat originally from Manchester, UK. He was personal secretary to four Israeli Prime Ministers, and has documented his experiences during the tumultuous times. This is from the marketing blurb, “It is an insider account of Israeli politics from the founding of the Jewish State to the near-present day. It reveals stunning details of life-and-death decision-making, top-secret military operations and high level peace negotiations. The Prime Ministers brings readers into the orbits of world figures, including Menachem Begin, Yitzhak Rabin, Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Carter, Henry Kissinger, Yasser Arafat, Margaret Thatcher, Princess Diana and the Lubavitcher Rebbe…”

    #1225739

    Lilmod Ulelamaid
    Participant

    “Inside their homes” – great book! I actually know him also. My friends’ kids did some detective work and figured out his last name, and when they told me, I realized that I know him.

    #1225740

    Avram in MD
    Participant

    zahavasdad,

    It does shock me the in the frum commnity almost everyone has heard of the Chosen (Its actally is quite positive towards the frum community)

    I’m not sure those in chassidic frum communities would agree.

    #1225741

    zahavasdad
    Participant

    I’m not sure those in chassidic frum communities would agree.

    I dont doubt it, which is why I was suprised so many had heard of it.

    #1225742

    Avram in MD
    Participant

    zahavasdad,

    Wait, first you write:

    (Its actally is quite positive towards the frum community)

    And then:

    I dont doubt [that those in chassidic frum communities would disagree], which is why I was suprised so many had heard of it.

    Which is it? Is it positive towards the frum community, or not?

    #1225743

    zahavasdad
    Participant

    I think its positive towards the frum community, However I do understand and know that people disagree with me and think its negative towards the frum community. Alot of those people might not have read the book, just have heard a Synapsis of it .

    I did read the book

    #1225744

    Avram in MD
    Participant

    zahavasdad,

    Do you think it’s positive towards the chassidic frum community?

    #1225745

    zahavasdad
    Participant

    I think it is, but I am not the last word on this topic.

    And just because there might be some things that might look negative, it doesnt make the whole story.

    If you want to say the Chassic Boy cutting off his peyos and going to Columbia to study Freud is a terrible thing, there isnt much we can discuss , no matter what is in the rest of the book (I realize for many that is all that matters)

    #1225746

    zahavasdad
    Participant

    Just curious Avram and SY

    Did you read the actual book, or just read some synpapsis? (Its very possible you did read the book)

    #1225747

    Avram in MD
    Participant

    I read the book a long time ago.

    #1225748

    Avram in MD
    Participant

    zahavasdad,

    I think it is, but I am not the last word on this topic.

    Do you think that the portrayal of a chassidic “rebbe” emotionally neglecting his son in order to teach him compassion is positive?

    #1225749

    zahavasdad
    Participant

    Ive read books from frum authors saying similar things.

    The problem is it came from a Non-frum author

    #1225750

    zahavasdad
    Participant

    We are not going to agree on this topic .

    Ive read enought Art Scroll “Histories” to know how to write such a book. Anything remotely seeming to be negative towards Rebbes is rarely put in them. If you are not used to a more general light then the Chosen is not for you.

    #1225751

    Avram in MD
    Participant

    zahavasdad,

    Ive read books from frum authors saying similar things.

    That doesn’t answer my question. Do you think that the portrayal of a chassidic “rebbe” emotionally neglecting his son in order to teach him compassion is positive, whether or not the author is “frum”?

    The problem is it came from a Non-frum author

    Why do you assume that? Did I write that anywhere?

    #1225752

    Avram in MD
    Participant

    zahavasdad,

    If you are not used to a more general light then the Chosen is not for you.

    Aha, so I can’t properly appreciate The Chosen because I’m locked in some kind of sheltered frum box, used to sanitized Artscroll biographies exclusively? Not quite. I read The Chosen before I became frum, and formed my interpretations with that mind set. The author’s polemic against the perceived chassidic “circle the wagons” approach to modernity, and the juxtaposition of Reuven’s saintly father and Reb Saunders is quite unsubtle.

    #1225753

    zahavasdad
    Participant

    Like Ive seen, ive read “Frum” Books and you see things like how the father spent all his time learning (and not spend with the son)

    You are also spending all your energy on this one aspect of “The Pain and the widsom of the silence” There is alot more to the book than that.

    You dont seem to mention how the Rebbe really took a liking to the Less relgious boy and invited him over regulary (Except during the Zionist phase)

    #1225754

    zahavasdad
    Participant

    I never said you had to like the book, I gave my opinion, you are entitled to your own opinion.

    I was aware you were a BT which is why I had said earlier that I suspected you had already read it (I also suspect SY might have read it as well)

    #1225755

    zahavasdad
    Participant

    Many frum people consider Fiddler on the Roof (Tevye the Milkman) a negative portrayl, however most people think of it as very lovingly

    is there are secular jewish work you approve of?

    #1225756

    Avram in MD
    Participant

    zahavasdad,

    Like Ive seen, ive read “Frum” Books and you see things like how the father spent all his time learning (and not spend with the son)

    I think there’s a difference between a distant father and a neglectful father. A soldier can spend most of his time away from his family, but that isn’t neglectful per se. Reb Saunders made a conscious decision to refuse emotional connection with Danny.

    You are also spending all your energy on this one aspect of “The Pain and the widsom of the silence” There is alot more to the book than that.

    Silence and pain seem to be primary themes of the novel.

    You dont seem to mention how the Rebbe really took a liking to the Less relgious boy and invited him over regulary (Except during the Zionist phase)

    I did not perceive Reuven to be “less religious” in the novel – now you’re gonna get the MO posters up in arms 🙂

    #1225757

    Avram in MD
    Participant

    zahavasdad,

    Many frum people consider Fiddler on the Roof (Tevye the Milkman) a negative portrayl, however most people think of it as very lovingly

    I’m only familiar with the theatrical musical version of Fiddler on the Roof, but I would agree with those who feel that it is a positive portrayal. It’s just not a very knowledgeable portrayal.

    #1225758

    Avram in MD
    Participant

    zahavasdad,

    is there are secular jewish work you approve of?

    Einstein’s special relativity is quite spectacular 🙂

    #1225759

    zahavasdad
    Participant

    Read the Hebrew Mishpacha Magazine Obituary of Rav Elyashiv

    #1225760

    Avram in MD
    Participant

    zahavasdad,

    Read the Hebrew Mishpacha Magazine Obituary of Rav Elyashiv

    Why?

    #1225761

    zahavasdad
    Participant

    That is where there is a similar idea

    #1225762

    Lilmod Ulelamaid
    Participant

    If someone grew up Frum and went off (which I think is what happened to CP if I’m not mistaken. I think he went to YU, since I think I remember my father saying that he recognized some of the people/Rabbanim in his books. But if I’m mistaken about CP’s background, feel free to correct me), it would seem likely that his perception of the Frum world would not be completely accurate or positive.

    I think the main problem that people have with CP’s books is that the point of his books (or at least one of the points if not the main one) is to present his hashkafa and from what I understand, his own hashkafa may be off.

    I am speaking in general terms since I read the books too long ago to be able to comment more definitively.

    #1225763

    Avram in MD
    Participant

    zahavasdad,

    Sorry, I could not find the article you are describing. Can you provide more specific search terms, or post a snippet?

    #1225764

    Lilmod Ulelamaid
    Participant

    I think that often the secular world looks at these portrayals of the Frum world (whether it be Fiddler on the Roof, Chaim Potok, or something else) very differently than the Frum world does.

    That is because the secular world is starting out with either no knowledge or incorrect knowledge of the Frum world. They are also usually starting out with a very negative impression of the Frum world.

    So they view these portrayals as positive since they are more positive than their initial impressions.

    However, the Frum world who knows what the Frum world is about realizes that these are in fact negative portrayals of the Frum world.

    Additionally, there are things that someone secular would not realize are problematic. For example, the mixed dancing in Fiddler on the Roof and the way the Rabbi is portrayed as an idiot who can’t figure out why it should be a problem.

    #1225765

    zahavasdad
    Participant

    Fiddler on the Roof is a show based on a Series of Short Stories by Sholoem Alchem called Tevye the Milkman.

    The whole wedding scene is not in the Book. The section on Tzeitel ends when Goldie agrees to let her marry The Tailor Motel Kamzoil instead of Lazer Wolf whom the Matchmaker suggests.

    Shalom Alechem came from that world (Of the Shtel) and he wrote Satire of it.

    The problem as I see it , in the general world nothing is sacred and you can pretty much say what you want. You can portray any character any way you want. You can also portray people as complex individiduals . for example In the chosen Reb Saunders has a dark side. A frum book would never show a dark side to a Rav (I didnt say a sinning side, just a darker side)

    #1225766

    Lightbrite
    Participant

    Experiment-0

    #1225767

    Lilmod Ulelamaid
    Participant

    ZD – it is true that it is important to portray Rabbanim as complex human beings who had to work on themselves to become what they are as opposed to portraying them as perfect malachim. That is the only way that they can be role models for us. Rav Hutner writes about how it is problematic that Gedolim are portrayed as though they were born perfect which makes us feel like we can’t emulate them.

    But, that has absolutely nothing to do with the problems with Chaim Potok’s books. The problems are as I stated above. And regarding Reb Saunders, the issue is not that he is portrayed as a human being with imperfections, but that he is portrayed inaccurately and negatively.

    #1225768

    Lilmod Ulelamaid
    Participant

    As for Fiddler on the Roof, I thought you were talking about the movie. Sorry if I misunderstood. I read a lot of Shalom Aleichem as a kid, but I don’t think I ever read this, so I can’t really comment.

    Is it the movie or the book that people criticize? I would have thought it’s the movie. I didn’t think there were too many Frum people who were familiar with the book. I don’t think I ever even heard anyone mention it until now (besides my family).

    #1225769

    It does shock me the in the frum commnity almost everyone has heard of the Chosen (Its actally is quite positive towards the frum community) but in the general secular world Portonys Complaint is one of the most famous books of Jewish Literature

    The New Yorker called it “one of the dirtiest books ever published,”

    and you wonder why the frum world isn’t familiar with it?

    #1225770

    Lilmod Ulelamaid
    Participant

    Randomex, what book? Fiddler on the Roof? Are you joking????

    #1225771

    zahavasdad
    Participant

    Most people have not read the original Tevye the Milkman. I am reading it now, but its a bit tough as it doesnt translate well into english (Tevye is always quoting some biblical quotes and its doesnt work so well in english). I do not read Yiddish so I must use the english translation

    When I quoted Fiddler on the Roof I was refering to the musical, but the thread was about books so I sort of interchanged them.

    I never advocated reading them, I only brought up Chaim Potak and Philip roth because you said we cannot say lashon harah about a book. I made an assumption you would not like either one of them (Or for that matter Fiddler on the Roof which is the most famous portrayal of frum life which i didnt think you would like either)

    #1225772

    zahavasdad
    Participant

    Randomex is referring to Portonoys Complaint by Philip Roth

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