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Beware of God: Stories Paperback – April 3, 2006
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Top Customer Reviews
These are characters trapped in cul de sacs of legalistic fretting, and the god protrayed here in the one that would have to exist to make all this theological manuvering something other than absurd and pointless -- a smug CEO, frustrated with his penny-ante creations and bound by his own legalistic mind.
It's a funny book, a ding on the vanities and motivations of hyperobservant followers everywhere. Not just Orthodox Jews.
Using satire and humor, Auslander demonstrates to the reader the difficulty and sometimes absurdity of living life as an orthodox Jew.
The characters in these stories are filled with conflicting emotions which can never be settled- the Orthdox Jew can never be completely happy because his life is full of guilt and fear. Guilt of sins and fear of punishment. Fear of missing out on Heaven or being responsible for another Holocaust.
In one story, a young boy both enjoys exploring his sexuality and feels terribly guilty for doing so at the same time.
The most brilliant story, in my opinion, is "Holocaust Tips for Kids". The author lets us into the mind of an orthodox child who has been totally inundated with precise and gory facts about the holocaust throughout his school year while at the same time being taught by his Rabbis that Jewish sins are responsible for God's causing the Holocaust. The result is a child who performss Judaism out of fear of causing another holocaust while constantly thinking of escape routes and hiding places in case a holocaust does occur.
I think this book shows us the schizophrenic personality which an Orthodox Jew must exhibit. On the one hand, there is the reality of this world- its worldly pleasures such as sex, money, and happiness; its suffering such as death and illness. The orthodox Jew, like any human, enjoys the pleasures and hates the suffering. On the other hand is his orthodox religious outlook which teaches to be wary of worldy pleasures (they are sinful or can lead to sin) and to embrace suffering as the mysterious work of a loving God.
These stories are funny but unfortunately some people live such lives and that is not funny.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
writes well but his main point becomes overly repetitious. I eventually lost interest.Published 10 days ago by Joel K.
I first heard Shalom Auslander on This American Life, and I enjoyed that segment enough to check out the book. I was not disappointed. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Jesse V.
You needn’t be Jewish or have the thinnest veneer of understanding of Jewish orthodoxy to enjoy, nay, love “Beware of God. Read morePublished 13 months ago by Steve Cuno
delightful shorts that ridicule the absurdities of religion and faith in the most hilarious way ... possibly educational if you wish to learn about some basic aspects of the Jewish... Read morePublished 21 months ago by Wing Yan Poon
I know, I know, the first couple of stories feel very lazy towards the end, like the writing got tired of writing and tried to wrap everything up in a nice, neat, literary bow. Read morePublished on May 23, 2014 by Kathleen