Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Of All Places to Meet Rebbe Menachem Nahum of Chernobyl

Of all places to run into Rebbe Menachem Nahum of Chernobyl, Martin Cruz Smith's "Wolves Eat Dogs" murder mystery was a surprise location. His major work, M'Or Einayim, was recently published in an English-language edition if you are interested in learning more about a disciple of Dov Ber of Mezeritch.

But getting back to the novel, I checked a few reviews and they all skipped the Hasidic master's presence (as well as that of a character named Yakov who was in the Stern Group and serves as a bodyguard to another character named Bobby Hoffman who went to Yeshiva and who was the son of a Jewish mob figure who gets dressed up as a Hassid and says Kaddish at the reactor site after failing to do so a year earlier when visiting Rebbe Menachem Nahum's Tziyon at the behest of his employer but you'll have to read the book).


In any case, Smith even does a bit of "Torah". Here it is, p. 246 in the paperback edition I just picked up at an airport in Toronto:

"By the way, Noah was an asshole, too."

"Why Noah?" Arkady asked. This was a new indictment.

He didn't argue."

"Noah should have argued?"

Yakov explained, "Abraham argues with God not to kill everyone in Sodom and Gomorrah. Moses pleads with God not to kill worshippers of the golden calf. But God tells Noah to build a boat because He's going to flood the entire world, and what does Noah say? Not a word."

"Not a word," says Bobby, "and saves the minimum. What a bastard."

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