Larchmont Temple Chevra Torah

Questioning faith in the parsha

Chaim Potak: My Name is Asher Lev

Parsha B’Shalach                   An Excerpt from the book by Chaim Potak

By the first of September of that year, I had begun a new painting—the old man with the pigeons in the Piazza del Duomo.  I wrote Anna Schaeffer to let her know I was alive and well and working in Paris. She wrote me back immediately. Now I was a real painter, she said. Asher Lev in Paris. It had a ring to it. Asher Lev in Paris. I should stay away from cafes and night life and paint pictures that would make us rich. I should stay away from the artists of the New School of Paris; they were timid bores. I should paint and paint and make her happy and rich. She did not mention Jacob Kahn.

Four weeks later, on a day when I could feel the cold of the fall begin to settle into the city, I received a package from her in the mail. I opened it and saw a new dark-blue beret. There was a card: “From an impossible old lady to an impossible young man. Affectionately, Anna.”

I put the beret into a drawer and continued to wear my fisherman’s cap.


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