Man sees only between the blinks of his eyes. He does not know what the world is like during the blinks. He sees the world in pieces, in fragments.

It was a large store and i did not like to go in it because its brightness was cold, like sunlight on distant ice.

No one knows he is fortunate until he becomes unfortunate, that's the way the world is.

A man must be forced to choose. It is only when you are forced to choose that you know what is important to you.

I do not have many things that are meaningful to me. Except my doubts and my fears. And my art.

I walked the streets and tasted the golden sun that lay across the city.

I cannot have gone through what I went through and have lost what I lost if it's all meaningless.

I get up around 6:30. I work from about 8:00 to 1:00, take a break for lunch, work again until about 5:00, and then go for a long walk and have dinner. Then, if my wife and I have no previous plans, we decide what to do for the evening.

The world will indulge you just so long Asher Lev. Then it will stop. You will simply have to grow accustomed to that truth.

Williamsburg was stifling, narcotized by the heat.

Gossip, gossip, gossip. Rumors. Tongues. ‘Life and death are in the power of the tongue,' he quoted in Hebrew.

It is inconceivable to me that a million or three million or half a million human beings will think and feel precisely the same way on any single subject.

I held it close to my face and smelled the ink. I have always loved the smell of ink in a new book.

Obstacles are given us in order to make our desire even stronger. The more a thing is hidden from man, the more he desires it, and the greater the chance he will one day discover it.

Seeds must be sown everywhere. Only some will bear fruit. But there would not be the fruit from the few had the many not been sown.

You paint it, he responds. You are a specialist in darkness. I tell him, I didn't live through it. He says, We all lived through it, everyone; all of humanity lived through it. Was Picasso in Guernica? Did Guido Reni see with his own eyes the slaughter of little children in Bethlehem?

Without man, what is God? And without God, what is man? Everyone needs the help of someone to complete the work of Creation that is never truly completed. Everyone.

I wish that your journey will be to a light not only for yourself but for all of us. I wish that it will be a journey for the sake of heaven. I give you my blessing, Asher Lev.

You can do anything you want to do. What is rare is this actual wanting to do a specific thing: wanting it so much that you are practically blind to all other things, that nothing else will satisfy you,.

I'm constantly revising. Once the book is written and typed, I go through the entire draft again.

It was no joy waking up after a dream about that man. He left a taste of thunder in my mouth.

Go to sleep, Asher. You've had a difficult day. A difficult day? I didn't do a thing all day! For you, my husband, that is the most difficult kind of day you can have.

An artist has got to get acquainted with himself just as much as he can. It is no easy job, for it is not a present-day habit of humanity.

Art is a person's private vision expressed in aesthetic forms.

Is he aware of both—and unaware? Can the mind ride two such separate tracks simultaneously? Concealed ambivalence. Hidden ambiguity. Are we so flawed that we can never truly know our own most secret motives?

I'm not altogether certain that a fundamentalism of necessity has to argue that it is the only reading of the human experience in order to stay alive.

My father's right to shape my life had been taken from him by the same being who gave his own life meaning - the Rebbe.

In Russia I went to a great yeshiva, and in America I work in a carnival.

Come, let us have some tea and continue to talk about happy things.

A person has to have a reason for living, and the best reason is another person. Together they can make a plan for their lives.

It is strange how ideas can float about and be ignored until they are put into a book. A book can be a weapon...

It is impossible to fuse totally with a culture for which you feel a measure of antagonism.

What I have in advance are people I want to write about and a problem or problems that I see those people encountering and that I want to explore - it all proceeds sentence by sentence, paragraph by paragraph, and scene by scene.

It's not a pretty world, Papa. I've noticed, my father said softly.

What is your dissertation, Ilana Davita? Babel and Camus: Twists of Fate and Faith. Babel's The Red Cavalry and Camus's The Stranger.

You can listen to silence, Reuven. I've begun to realize that you can listen to silence and learn from it. It has a quality and a dimension all its own. It talks to me sometimes. I feel myself alive in it. It talks. And I can hear it.

Devorah tended to fill empty spaces with books: end tables, the tops of dressers, the edges of desks, on occasion even a chair. She would arrange and rearrange the books with exacting care, lining up the spines so none jutted out: sentinel rows of books.

If I had a plot that was all set in advance, why would I want go through the agony of writing the novel? A novel is a kind of exploration and discovery, for me at any rate.

I grew up encrusted with lead and spectrumed with crayons. My dearest companions were Eberhard and Crayola. Washing for meals was a cosmic enterprise.

Basically it's none of our business how somebody manages to grow, if only he does grow, if only we're on the trail of the law of our own growth.

Truth has to be given in riddles. People can't take truth if it comes charging at them like a bull. The bull is always killed. You have to give people the truth in a riddle, hide it so they go looking for it and find it piece by piece; that way they learn to live with it.

Two people who are true friends are like two bodies with one soul.

He taught them that the purpose of a man is to make his life holy--every aspect of his life: eating, drinking praying, sleeping. God is everywhere, he told them, and if it seems at times that He is hidden from us, it is only because we have not yet learned to seek Him correctly.

Something that is yours forever is never precious.

When the alternative is possible disaster, a man must gamble.

My name is Asher Lev... I am a traitor, an apostate, a self-hater, an inflicter of shame upon my family, my friends, my people; also, I am a mocker of ideas sacred to Christians, a blasphemous manipulator of modes and forms revered by Gentiles for two thousand years.

If there were not anxiety behind those apples, Cézanne would not interest me any more than Bouguereau.

Everything has a past. Everything – a person, an object, a word, everything. If you don't know the past, you can't understand the present and plan properly for the future.

Some troubles do not go away as we grow older. They grow older with us.