“Like all people without land or roots, I am obsessed by my prehistory. And my prehistory is the troubled and shameful period of the Occupation. I always felt, for obscure familial reasons, that I was born of this nightmare.”
Source: 2014 Nobel Prize literature winner Patrick Modiano, quoted by Benjamin Ivry in The Forward
(I have “borrowed” the accompanying image from the New York Public Library. I hope they won’t mind!)
“The mechanics of good apologies aren’t difficult. The 12th-century sage Maimonides said that true repentance requires humility, remorse, forbearance , and reparation. Not much has changed since then. Basically, you have to take ownership of the offense, even if it makes you uncomfortable. Name your sin, even if it makes you squirm. Use the first person, and avoid passive voice (‘I’m sorry I kicked your Pomeranian,’ not ‘I’m sorry your dog got hurt,’ or worse, ‘I’m sorry it was impossible to ignore the incessant yapping of your undersocialized little hellbeast’). Acknowledge the impact of what you did. (‘My lateness was disrespectful of your time and inconvenienced you on what I know was a busy day.’) Be real, open and non-defensive. (‘What I said was moronic and mean, and I’m ashamed of myself.’) Offer a teeny bit of explanation if it’s relevant, but keep it short and—this is key—don’t use it as justification for your actions. (‘I was tired and crabby because I had to work late, but that’s no excuse for taking it out on you.’)”
Source: Marjorie Ingall, “How to Say You’re Sorry,” Tablet magazine
Every Friday morning My Machberet presents an assortment of Jewish-interest links, primarily of the literary variety.
A gorgeous meditation for the Days of Awe by Richard Chess.
Etgar Keret explains why Yom Kippur is his favorite holiday (translation by Sondra Silverston).
Irving Kristol’s only published short story, re-published on Mosaic this week, features an post-World War II encounter in France between an American Jewish GI and an Auschwitz survivor.
Have you perused the amazing collection of archived summary-reviews of major works of American Jewish fiction over on the Fig Tree Books website?
Last, but by no means least: David (D.G.) Myers, whose many areas of expertise included Jewish literature, passed away last Friday. Please take a few moments to read through some tributes to him.
Photo Credit: Reut Miryam Cohen
Shabbat shalom, and an easy/meaningful fast to all who will be observing the Yom Kippur holiday.