My Name isAsher Lev

P. 3: Asher Lev

"As a matter of fact,observant Jews did not paint at all--in the way that I am painting. So strongwords are being written and spoken about me, myths are being generated: I am atraitor, an apostate, a self-hater, an inflicter of shame upon my family, myfriends, my people; also, I am a mocker of ideas sacred to Christians, ablasphemous manipulator of modes and forms revered by Gentiles for two thousandyears.

Well, I am none of these things.And yet, in all honesty, I confess that my accusers are not altogether wrong: Iam indeed, in some way, all of these things.

The fact is that gossip, rumors,mythmaking, and news stories are not appropriate vehicles for the communicationof nuances of truth, those subtle tonalities that are often the truly crucialelements in a causal chain."

P. 119: Asher Lev to. . .

"If You don't want me to usethe gift, why did You give it to me?"

P. 166-7: Asher Lev's father""An animal can't help it, " my father said. "Do youunderstand me, Asher? The Ribbono Shel Olom gave every man a will. Every man isresponsible for what he does, because he has a will and m that will he directshis life. There is no such thing as a man who can't help it.""

P. 218: Jacob Kahn "Listento me, Asher Lev. As an artist you are responsible to no one and to nothing,except to yourself and to the truth as you se it."

P. 226: Jacob Kahn "I sculptand paint to give permanence to my feelings about how terrible this world trulyis. Nothing is real to me except my own feelings; nothing is true except my ownfeelings as I seem them all around me in my sculptures and paintings. I know thesefeelings are true, because if they are not true they would make art that is asterrible as the world."

P. 244: Rebbe

"I have looked upon you as ason."

P. 284-5: Rebbe

"'Everything is in the handsof heaven, except the fear of heaven,'" he quoted. "What can I tellyou, my Asher? I do not know what the Master of the Universe has waiting forus. Certain things are given, and it is for man to use them to bring goodnessinto the world. The Master of the Universe gives us glimpses, and onlyglimpses. It is for us to open our eyes wide.". . . "Yes," hesaid. "I am certain you understand. I wish you a long and healthy life, myson. I give you my blessings for greatness in the world or art and greatness inthe world of your people.""

P. 304: AsherLev to his father

"Because I'm part of atradition, Papa. Mastery of the art form of the nude is very important to thattradition. Every artist who ever lived drew or painted the nude. . . . "Idont want to sit in a room painting for myself. I want to communicate what Ido. And I want critics to know I can do it." . . . "I respect you,Papa. But I cant respect your aesthetic blindness."

P. 324: AsherLev

I remembered my father during mymother's illness. He had been as torn by her illness as by his inability tojourneyed for the Rebbe. I had never been able to understand that torment. NowI wondered if journeying meant to him more than a way of bringing God into theworld. Was journeying an unknowing act of atonement? In the dim past, a villagehad burned to the ground and people had died. The Gemorra teaches us that a manwho slays another man slays not only one individual but all the children andchildren's children that individual might have brought into life. Traditionsare born by the power of an initial thrust that hurls acts and ideas across thecenturies. Had the death by fire of those individuals been such a thrust? Wasmy ancestor's act of atonement to extend thought all the generations of ourfamily line? Had he unwittingly transmitted the need for such an act to hischildren; had they transmitted it to their children?

P. 328: AsherLev

Yes, I could have decided not todo it. Who would have known? Would it have made a difference to anyone in theworld that I had felt a sense of incompleteness about a painting? Who wouldhave cared about my silent cry of fraud? Only Jacob Kahn, and perhaps one ortwo others, might have sensed it incompleteness. And even they could never haveknown how incomplete it truly was, for by itself it was a good painting. Only Iwould have known.

P. 348: Asher Lev's father It'sdifficult for your father to hate something the world seems to value so much.

P. 348: AsherLev's mother

"Your father asked me totalk to you Asher.". . . "We know the girl's family, Asher." . .. "We met them in Paris. It's a fine family, Asher. Your father asked meto tell you that he would give you his blessing."


The following quotations havebeen suggested by Catherine Preus (editionunknown).

            Iwould not be a whore to my own existence. p312

It is both a weakness and a strength to be sostubborn. p262

You and your father are twodifferent natures. There is nothing to be done about it, Asher Lev...Do nottry to understand.  Become a great artist.  That is the only way tojustify what you are doing to everyone's life. p264


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