web analytics
September 21, 2014 / 26 Elul, 5774
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post
Meir Panim with Soldiers 5774 Roundup: Year of Relief and Service for Israel’s Needy

Meir Panim implements programs that serve Israel’s neediest populations with respect and dignity. Meir Panim also coordinated care packages for families in the South during the Gaza War.



Title: Mitzvah Man


book-Mitzvah-Man

Title: Mitzvah Man

Author: John Clayton

Publisher: Texas Tech University Press

Readers of Clayton’s short stories know that he is not only a master craftsman, but that his stories are inquires into the purpose of life; he is a moral philosopher. Like a composer who takes a simple theme and creates complicated fugues and nuances, Clayton delicately weaves Jewish themes and ideas into a captivating and enticing story. It is precisely because he skillfully balances on the edge of cliché, almost touching the nerve of the commonplace, then introduces a cutting edge of dissonance, that the reader is encouraged to think.

Clayton uses a simple story line – the loss of a beloved spouse – to ask big questions. Carefully drawing his main characters, a bereaved husband and his barely teenage daughter, he moves them through encounters with friends and relatives to elicit universal themes, and ask the question: what is life about? That makes this novel compelling. He is not just telling us about confronting tragedy, but about the search for meaning.

As in life, the novel provides hopeful promise but no tidy ending, leaving the reader both enriched and wanting more. The framework is Jewish, but not parochial or exclusive, though Jews will be more familiar with the concepts.

Ultimately, this simple story is about one man’s need to repair the world – tikun olam. That universal theme motivates millions of people who are concerned about the environment, global warming, and helping others – the altruism upon which our fragile world depends.

The role of the artist and writer is to take what we know, the ordinary, and make it extraordinary, to use what we take for granted and show how it is special. Clayton does that magnificently.

Moshe Dann is a writer and journalist living in Jerusalem.

About the Author: Moshe Dann is a writer living in Jerusalem.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Title: Mitzvah Man”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Dozens of children were traumatized but escaped injury Sunday morning when Arabs in eastern Jerusalem attacked their bus.
Neglecting Terror Setting Up Eastern Jerusalem Jews for Expulsion
Latest Sections Stories
Calmer Times. Breslov chassidim on erev Rosh Hashanah in 2012 at the grave of Rav Nachman in Uman.

As optimistic as Menachem Rosenberg is – and he said he is going to Uman – he’s sure that this year, most of the travelers will not tour other religious sites or places in Ukraine.

Three sets of three-day Yomim Tovim can seem overwhelming – especially when we are trying to stay healthy.

Plotkin-092614

Is a missed opportunity to do a mitzvah considered a sin?

Teens-Twenties-logo

The sounds and scents of the kitchen are cozy, familiar, but loud in the silence.

Everyone has a weakness. For some people it is the inability to walk past a sales rack without dropping a few hundred dollars. For others, it’s the inability to keep their house organized.

His entire life was dedicated to Torah and he became a pivotal figure in the transmittal of the Oral Torah to the next generation.

When you don’t have anyone else to turn to… that’s when you’re tied to Hashem the closest.

While we all go to restaurants for a good meal, it is dessert, that final taste that lingers in your mouth, that is the crown jewel of any dining experience and Six Thirteen’s offerings did not disappoint.

Today, fifty years and six million (!) people later, Israel is truly a different world.

There will always be items that don’t freeze well – salads and some rice- or potato-based dishes – so you need to leave time to prepare or cook them closer to Yom Tov and ensure there is enough room in the refrigerator to store them.

In Uzbekistan, in the early twentieth century, it was the women who wore the pants.

This is an important one in raising a mentsch (and maybe even in marrying off a mentsch! listening skills are on the top of the list when I do shidduch coaching).

More Articles from Moshe Dann
David_Grossman

Blaming Israel for the violence in Gaza, he ends up justifying Hamas’s terrorism.

Shiloh, an early capital of Biblical Israel.

The sovereignty of the Jewish people in Eretz Yisrael is not only a political act but also a moral and spiritual one.

The Haggadah is an instruction manual on how to survive as strangers in strange lands.

The expulsion of 10,000 Jews from their homes five years ago was not a localized event in the Gaza Strip. It was a national implosion, a national disgrace. It caused enormous physical, psychological, social, cultural, military and strategic damage to the entire nation – and it still does. Like an ecological disaster, its foulness still seeps through our foundations, and continues to poison us.

Readers of Clayton’s short stories know that he is not only a master craftsman, but that his stories are inquires into the purpose of life; he is a moral philosopher.

In case you didn’t notice, olive trees in Judea and Samaria are under attack. The alleged culprits are Jews living there. UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Robert Serry called it “terrorism.”

Supporters of the planned mosque and Islamic center near Manhattan’s Ground Zero have focused on the issue of religious freedom. But as thousands of mosques have already been built throughout America, this is false – a straw man if ever there was one.

The issue in the girl’s school controversy in Emmanuel is not about ethnic discrimination but about differences between religious groups. The school’s educational policies are based on the level of observance, not ethnic background.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/books/book-reviews/title-mitzvah-man/2012/01/11/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: