By Leonard Unger
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A singular that dates from 1907 tells the tale of a tender schoolteacher who attempts to enlighten his Slovenian countrymen.
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He curses God and deprecates creation: "There is no justice, no Judge," he cries. The world is not ruled. "A total lie! . " Nothing exists beyond the moment. The rabbi may reject God's existence, but he does not doubt that of the poor. To them he gives his possessions. Nor does he, strangely enough, cease prayers, studies, or fasts. With God deed is more important than word; so despite his heresies, the rabbi has earned his reward. His dead daughter appears in a dream to declare he is soon to be summoned.
They are not needed-—enough devilish humans are available for the inevitable mischief. God? Seemingly He sits in His seventh heaven snapping His fingers at everything. Other changes or "shifts" emerge. Recent tales are longer and more dense in thought and detail. Women narrators are more frequent, as are symbolic or prophetic dreams. Most surprising is a lessening of authorial detachment. Singer's views on psychic phenomena and man's abuse of animals do not obtrude but repeatedly motivate the action.
Jachid and Jechidah" presents a Platonic heaven where souls exist before birth and man's world is a Miltonic hell for fallen spirits (with all humans viewed as heaven's rejects). Singer alters his angle of vision to present truth as relative— a matter of ironic perspective. He also reverses the life-death cycle—all this by means of a pair of freethinking angels (or "souls") who hold the blasphemous opinion spirits are not created but evolve. They even reject free will and ultimate good and evil.
AMERICAN WRITERS, Volume 4 by Leonard Unger