There are two stories here. One is the now legendary tale of a defiant Jew's refusal to abandon God, even in the face of the greatest suffering the world has known, a testament of faith that has taken on an unpredictable and fascinating life of its own and has often been thought to be a direct testament from the Holocaust.
The parallel story is that of Zvi Kolitz, the true author, whose connection to Yosl Rakover has been obscured over the fifty years since its original appearance. German journalist Paul Badde tells how a young man came to write this classic response to evil, and then was nearly written out of its history. With brief commentaries by French philosopher Emmanuel Levinas and Leon Wieseltier, author of Kaddish, this edition presents a religious classic and the very human story behind it.
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Yosl Rakover Talks to God, a short story that was thought for years to be a nonfiction testimonial, is one of the most highly regarded works of literature to emerge from the Holocaust. It presents itself as the last words of a dying Jew to God. Yosl Rakover, a resistance fighter against the German assault on the Warsaw Ghetto, and the last surviving member of his family, takes pen to paper on April 28, 1943, and writes a searing confession of strength and humility. ("The sun probably has no idea how little I regret that I shall never see it again.") He then seals the story in a glass bottle and hides it in the rubble before returning to the battle in which he will die. This edition of the story includes a long essay about its composition and reception by journalist Paul Badde, an essay from the 1950s by the French philosopher Emmanuel Levinas, and a response to that essay by Leon Wieseltier (the author of Kaddish). This is a strange and beautiful book, with great power to persuade its readers that we must take time to state for ourselves the nature of our belief or unbelief. Yosl Rakover cherishes the story of a Jew who escaped the Spanish Inquisition and prayed: "I will always believe in You. I will love You always and forever--even despite you." Many readers will cherish Yosl Rakover Talks to God in a similar way. --Michael Joseph GrossFrom the Back Cover:
"A singular literary creation, worth pondering for generations to come." --The Jerusalem Report
" The text is a quarrel as much as a prayer, an assertion of faith and a simultaneous refusal to accept the traditional notion that God hides his face in response to human sin." --The New York Times
"Yosl Rakover is one of those runaway masterpieces whose energy makes them explode off the page." --Le Nouvel Observateur (France)
"Remarkable . . . a grim but beautiful story." --Los Angeles Times
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Book Description Vintage. Paperback. Book Condition: New. UNUSED, VERY GOOD, NOT EX-LIBRARY, Jkt. Crease 1st English Paperback Edition, 112 pages. (A dying Jew's last words to God in the collapse of the Warsaw Ghetto: a text which is regarded as the single greatest piece of writing to have emerged from the Holocaust, the story of how it came to be written, the man who wrote it and the after life of both the author and his creation). book. Bookseller Inventory # 463