Quotes

 

P. 4 Gershon's father to Gershon

"That's where we live, Gershon," his father said. "Yes, it's a beautiful world. But you must learn to make smart choices or it will hurt you."

P. 117 Jakob Keter to Gershon

"Indeed? Your reticence conceals much. And his exuberance conceals much. I think, if you will excuse me, that reticence and exuberance are often splendid soil for talk that is in essence silence."

P. 117 Jakob Keter to Gershon

Yet I felt no compassion for the Germans. And that distressed me. To think that Germany had succeeded in destroying a man's capacity to feel compassion toward human suffering. That is perhaps her greatest sin.

P. 134 Roger to Gershon

"Yes, sir. Seventh-Day (sic) Adventists are here now Friday and Saturday morning, sir."

P. 228 Gershon

How do you live almost a lifetime with two people, and love them, and really not know them? What sort of energy or accident brings together loving and knowing?

P. 234 Charles Leiden to Gershon

And we tinker with light and atomic bombs, with the energy of the universe. Do you wonder what the world doesn't know what to make of its Jews? No one is on more familiar terms with the heart of the insanity in the universe than is the Jew, and no one is more frenetic and untidy in the search for an answer. We are always in a desperate rush. We offer apocalypses in a pushcart, messiahs in tobacco-stained caftans.

P. 274 Gershon to himself

Strange how people drifted in and out of your life, and you never really got to know them. Even if you lived with them in the same room. Whom did he really know? No one. How could he ever know anyone when he barely knew himself?

P. 292 Gershon to Arthur

I remember I raised my hands in supplication--a little like the gesture of the monkey we say today on the road. I felt something touch me. Oh yes, something touched me. I've been waiting to feel that touch again. Is that childish of me? This is, after all, the twentieth century. But sometimes when I read those texts I'm on the roof of the building again. I don't know why I feel that way. They say things in those books that no one dares to say anywhere else. I feel comfortable with those acceptable heresies. . . . I can live with ambiguity, I think, better than I can with certainty. Doubt is all that's left to us, Arthur. Doubt and desperate deeds.

P. 305 "The other side voice" to Gershon

Your generation and the one yet to come are the children and grandchildren of these giants. What have they left you? They were your greatest gifts to yourselves; they were of a special grace. How you trusted them. What heritage have they given you to hold in your hands? Can you answer me?

P. 306 "The other side voice" to Gershon

And your teachers, Gershon, your Keter and Malkuson. You turn your head away. Why? Do my truths hurt? Listen. Your Keter and Malkuson--are they not also among the giants of your century? Are they not to your century's Talmud and Kabbalah what Einstein was to its physics? What greater gifts of scholarship could Jews have given to themselves? . . . Listen. You lie in your bed in your Tokyo hotel on the eve of your journey through Japan. Where are you going? And why? Why your flight into the army? Why your journey to Hong Kong and Macao? Do you flee from the shadows of the giants of your century, the great ones whose lights blind the eye and whose faults numb the heart? They fill you with hurt, with anger, with awe, do they not, these giants? They make ashes of great ideas, do they not? Do you flee to pagan worlds remote from the civilization of your teachers--to test their teachings? To escape their visions, their echoes, and the shadows that lie between what they are and what they teach? How far will you flee? Or are you done?

P. 347 Gershon to John

He was going to spend the rest of his life atoning for his father's mistake. That's stupid, John.

P. 364 Malkuson to Gershon

I will tell you, Loran. What is of importance is not that there may be nothing. We have always acknowledged that as a possibility. What is important is that if indeed there is nothing, then we should be prepared to make something out of the only thing we have left to us--ourselves.

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