‘MOSES’ by Sholem Asch
Moses brought a testament of faith, a love of justice & a hatred of tyranny to the world. His story has inspired movements of national liberation. Asch portrays him with vigour, insight & sympathy as a leader who struggled with implacable enemies, rebellious followers & personal failings to bring his people to a land of promise. Asch weaves a tapestry of superbly realized oriental colour & movement. Egypt comes alive under his pen. The opulence & intrigue of Pharoah’s court is contrasted with the poverty & oppression of the slaves who worked to build & maintain the empire. Every episode provides & an excitingly instructive example. We meet Moses as a young prince, rebelling under palace discipline, aware of rumours concerning his birth, drawn to the Hebrews, but afraid to reach out to them. We see him struggling with halting speech & a violent temper. Finally, he finds his true family & makes the decision to cast his lot with Israel. One day in the desert, God speaks to him out of a bush that burns but isn’t consumed & commands him to deliver Israel to freedom. A great trek begins. This work of historical exactitude & sustained inspiration meets the challenge of Moses with a scope & authority worthy of that sublime figure.
“In 1936, the novelist & critic Ludwig Lewisohn was asked to name the world’s ten greatest living Jews. The resulting list, which ran in The NY Times, included Albert Einstein, Sigmund Freud, Martin Buber & Louis Brandeis. Lewisohn deemed only one writer great enough to be included in this illustrious company: Sholem Asch.”—Ellen Umansky, Tablet Magazine