Translated by Ruth Wisse
Published by The Tikvah Fund and Toby Press
The year is 1948. Two Holocaust survivors run into each other on a Paris subway. Though each had assumed the other was killed in the Holocaust, they waste little time exchanging questions about wartime experiences or polite inquiries about the well-being of family and friends. Instead, the two fall back into an argument they had begun many years before, in the period preceding World War II. Both are graduates of the Novardok yeshiva in Lithuania, and their argument is intellectual, philosophical, and also deeply personal. They debate the question of how a Jew should relate to the world around them. One believes the world outside of Judaism is rich with insight and enlightenment. The other maintains that the Torah is the only source of meaning in this life, and all other endeavors amount to nothing but vanity and self-destruction.
For the full review of this wonderful new translation of a classic Yiddish story see the excellent new issue of Lubavitch International Magazine.