Yosl Rakover Talks to God
By Zvi Kolitz
(Vintage, Paperback, 9780375708404, 114pp.)
Publication Date: October 10, 2000
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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.
Zvi Kolitz lives in New York City.
Translated from the German by Carol Brown Janeway.
"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