But now I understood that, although words were God's first creation, silence was closer to His divine spirit, and that prayers given in silence were infinitely greater than the thousands of words men might offer up to heaven.

Should is what you don't want to do, but do anyway. That isn't me.

Put us in a jar, she thought. Put us in eternity.

I would rather hurt myself than be hurt by someone else, and so I took up this practice with a sense of purpose and without remorse.

She kept a stack of books near the tub so she could read in the bath, even though the edges of the pages turned moldy. She read on trains and on buses, which often made her late as she was forever missing her stop.

Envy is envy, both for the wind and for men on earth. The better the place, the more others covet what you have. Be a pauper, a wanderer, a secret in the darkness of night. Once you possess something others do not, you are a target for the wicked.

From the time I could read, I found solace in my father's library...At the ages of ten and eleven and twelve I would have preferred to remain in the library...

In a world of sorrow, love was an act of will. All you needed were the right ingredients.

It's for your own good, she said tenderly. All I want for you is a normal life. Mother, Franny sighed. What makes you think that's what I want?

The garden was burning, the air sparked with specks of flame as they say it will be in the World-to-Come when we walk beside the angels and have no fear of their illuminations or of their might.

She once told me that anyone who gets married had better like herself, because there's nobody else in this world that she'll ever really know, not truly.

If sparrows were meant to fly, and hawks to hunt, and greyhounds to run, then a boy such as Diamond was meant to search for his mother. If he didn't go, if he forgot or thought of himself first, then he wouldn't be Diamond.

Never look at other people's bad fortune,' my mother said. 'If you do, it will come back to find you instead of its rightful owner.

Franny entwined her legs with his. She understood why ancient monsters were often made of two creatures, with two hearts and minds. There was strength in such a combination of opposites.

If you tried to right all the wrongs in the world you'd exhaust yourself in under an hour.

Shut up and do not think. All the theorists agree: shut up and keep the words from being said. And all of the scars will remain invisible; and all of the scars will remain under the skin. Where they belong.

Let her wake as when she close her eyes. That was all Jenny asked for. That was all she begged for on this March night that was perfectly equal to the day, unique in all the season. Let her be the same sweet girl, unburdened by gifts or sorrow.

Shelby watched the books burn. She wonders if words are pouring down on other people's houses,sad words, like beast and mourn and sorrow and mother.

Was it fate? she asked.

Desire had a way of making a person oddly courageous. In the aunts' opinion, it could sneak up on a grown woman and turn her from a sensible creature into something as foolish as a flea that keeps chasing after the same old dog.

The weak are cruel. The strong have no need to be.

Every problem has a solution, although it may not be the outcome that was originally hoped for or expected.

Each morning when I arrive, the doves know me; their song rises and falls with pleasure and acceptance. It is always there, a river of sound.

Children would beg for a peppermint drop each time he walked into town, and they'd follow behind, asking for a second and a third. When he died suddenly, while working late at his office, every boy and girl in the village reported smelling mint in the night air, as if somehing sweet had passed them right by.

Others said May was best, that sweet green time when lilacs bloomed and gardens along Main Street were filled with sugary pink peonies and Dutch tulips.

I really feel like the gift is also the curse. It's always half-and-half. Whatever brings you the most joy will also probably bring you the most pain. Always a price to pay.

There comes a time when every one of our people understands that a Jew can never be attached to a place. The rules always change, and we always lose. People will always despise us, and we must be ready to fly away. We cannot have roots in the earth of any country, only in the garden that we carry inside us.

To want someone so much could be a terrible thing, or it could be the best hope a man could have.

But children can tell when love has been lost, they know when silence means peace and when it's a sign of despair.

I heard a sigh, as though the books were breathing. I felt that this was where I belonged. This was where I lived.

What looked empty was full, much like water in a cup. What was most important was invisible to the eye.

Do what you want, do what you will, do what you have to, do what you think you cannot.

They believe that every problem has a solution, although it may not be the outcome that was originally hoped for or expected.

I wonder how a lioness will manage in a dovecote. Can you put away your teeth and claws?

That just goes to show that you never can tell about a person by guessing," Frances informs her niece. "That's why language was invented. Otherwise, we'd all be like dogs, sniffing each other to find out where we stood.

Goodness, in their opinion, was not a virtue but merely spinelessness and fear disguised as humility.

The more you feel, the stronger you are.

For love changes everything and forces us into lives we never imagined we might lead.

She was disappearing a little more each day, so thin, so frail, a wisp of smoke. One day she would surely vanish altogether, and there was no way to stop her.

Cleaning up after themselves was a low priority for Margo and my mother. They had both recovered from cancer scares, failed marriages, and lost hope; in their opinion, dirt could wait.

Hoping that if she just walked down the same street fate would whirl her backward in time until she was once more (fill in your age), when the future was something she had not yet stepped into, when it was just an idea, a moment, something that had not disappointed her yet.

She wishes she had time to run around the block once or twice; maybe then she wouldn't feel as if she were about to burn up or shatter.

I felt I had come upon the core of the meaning of life, to discover and re-create beauty.

If anything, love was like light, illuminating what no one would have ever guessed was there in the darkness.

Hochman had been right, the past was what we carried with us, threaded to the future, and we decided whether to keep it close or let it go. Fate was both what we were given and what we made for ourselves.

It's still horrible to wish the worst on anyone. I'm sure she had her reasons. Maybe people hurt her feelings, the same way I was hurt. A single word can feel like a rock being thrown at you.

They might curse you, even despise you for doing so, but it took strong measures to ensure that a boy lived long enough to become a man.

He was so pale the freckles stood out on his face the way they did when he was upset or hadn't slept. She thought they might be telling her something if she could only understand the language of freckles.

His song would be our only path, despite any sins w might have committed and any punishments we might deserve. What we believed in, and what we said aloud, we could create before His eyes and in His image.