Originally published in 1911, this book precedes the Russian Revolution by some years. All these stories are set in the misery of the Eastern European ghetto and reflect the hopelessness of that time and place.
Life is hard for a man, especially a Jew. There is one exception. On Shabbat eve, with candles glowing, his wife and children surrounding him in their best clothing—a man is a king. Then he can sing and drink wine and enjoy life. No matter that tomorrow his labor start again, for now he is a king.
It’s that spirit that permeates the stories, even if unspoken.Whether the stories are lighthearted or tragic, easy to understand or completely opaque, underlying them all is a sense of what Jewish life is about.