August 5th, 2016


'Two Scholars Who Were in Our Town' by S. Y. Agnon - book notes

For a short while (sections 15-18) it looks as if Moshe Pinchas is experiencing some remorse for his vindictive attitude towards Shlomo. But, as he confides to his mother, he is not entirely his own master. Perhaps the Almighty is "hardening his heart" as with Pharaoh. Or maybe his pride prevents him from accepting kindness or forgiveness from Shlomo. Maybe Shlomo himself, subconsciously, contributes to this? It's almost as if he feels he has to shame Moshe Pinchas into repentance, while proving himself to be the "bigger man". (For one thing, offering Moshe Pinchas the rabbinic post would have placed him forever in Shlomo's debt.) See Avot 4:18. Sometimes I think there's such a thing as being too good, too kind, too forgiving; it starts to look as if you are trying to subtly humiliate the other party. You have to forgive, but you also have to show that you're human too.