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Chaim Potok's The Book of Lights (1981)

[Introduction] As the Corona virus was dominating the media and everybody’s daily lives, many of my friends on Facebook began launching “book challenges” to entertain themselves and the members of their networks. I accepted a challenge to list “10 books that changed your life,” and soon discovered that it was not just great fun to select ten titles and write about them, but that the exercise triggered a process of self-reflection. It made me conscious of some deep and long-term motivations and obsessions that have very much determined my personal life and my career as a scholar as well (or the other way around?). Below follows an expanded version of nr. 1 on my list.

Chaim Potok became famous with his best-selling novels The Chosen (1967) and My Name is Asher Lev (1972). I devoured and loved those books when I was young, but undoubtedly it isThe Book of Lightsthat really did it for me. It is not so well known as the others, probably because the central theme is Jewish kabbalah – not su…

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