The Pagan Rabbi Themes

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This story focuses on the theme of death and mourning. It begins with the death by suicide of Rabbi Isaac Kornfeld. In visiting Sheindal, the rabbi's widow, the narrator implicitly "asks the unaskable"—what is the meaning of the rabbi's suicide? The narrator's own father, also a rabbi, had declared him dead when he decided to leave rabbinical school and, following traditional Jewish mourning practices, he "rent his clothes and sat on a stool for eight days." The narrator's father never spoke to him again, eventually dying without another word to his own son. The narrator declares that "it is easy to honor a father from afar, but bitter to honor one who is dead." In discussing Isaac's suicide with Sheindal, the narrator blurts out, "What do you want from the dead?" Isaac's philosophical and theological musings, left in his letter and notebook, also address...

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This section contains 799 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The Pagan Rabbi Study Guide
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Short Stories for Students
The Pagan Rabbi from Short Stories for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.