I suspect you're thinking of Pascal,' Finkler said, finally.'Only he said the opposite. He said you might as well wager on God because that way, even if He doesn't exist, you've nothing to lose. Whereas if you wager against God and He does exist...' 'You're in the shit.
To be clear, I abhor the separation wall. It is an eyesore in itself and makes tangible the failed diplomacy and cruel short-sightedness that causes such misery in the region. No Palestinian can see that wall and not wonder if the Israelis mean it to stay there forever, a constant reminder of what they never intend to change.
I should have conceived the idea for 'The Mighty Walzer' earlier. A boy who dreamed of winning fame, fortune, and the adoration of beautiful women as a table-tennis player - shame on me for taking so long to see the mock-heroic possibilities in that.
Of the secular mysteries to which I wake with fresh and sometimes angry amazement every day, the queue is the second-most baffling. The first is the fan.
'Legality' is a mad phrase to use when it comes to the founding of nations. Australia was founded on illegality. For the Americans to go in and dispossess the American Indians was illegal.
Alone of prejudices, anti-Zionism is sacrosanct. How very dare we distinguish the motivation of one sort from another? Or question, in any instance, an anti-Zionist's good faith? In fact, what determines whether anti-Zionism is anti-Semitic is the nature of it.
Every time I criticize the anti-Zionists, they say, 'You are trying to silence us.' I don't deny there are some people who are critical of Israel who are not anti-Semitic. But to criticize Israel, and then criticize Zionism, is not quite the same thing.
The Christian Armenian story was the Polish Jewish story. The efforts of the Armenians to stay alive in Musa Dagh chimed with those struggling to survive the ghetto.
Leaned on by Turkey and understandably wary of false equivalences - for not every death is a massacre, and not every war is genocidal - Israel connives in Armenian genocide denial.
There is much that makes one pause in 'If This is a Man', the record of Levi's 11-month incarceration in Auschwitz, much one cannot read without needing to lay aside the book and inhale the breath of common air.
Does anyone who leaves a Baltic country ever want to return to it? Someone must, I suppose.
There was no question of ever sending us to Jewish schools... They wanted us out there. They wanted us to be lawyers and doctors. They wanted us out of the religious thing, apart from that ethnic bonding.
Think of the aged and bed-ridden Matisse cutting out strips of coloured paper, much as a child might, and investing them with a more than mortal vitality... Those strips of paper resonate because they prove that our materials don't determine in advance the worth of what we make.
Let's be honest with one another: almost everything is too long except life, and I know people who wouldn't even concur with that exception.
Making America great again, as if to keep the world out. The world and all its fresh ideas and everything that's new and exhilarating and the wind of change that should blow through the world - block it out, wall ourselves up. That for me goes with a small vocabulary. A narrow, confining vocabulary.
That a nation's statuary will reflect beliefs and attitudes that are no longer current or congenial hardly needs arguing. In most instances, it doesn't at all imply a continuing reverence.
Reading literature remains a civilising activity, no matter that it's literature in which people do and say abominable things and the author curses like the very devil. What's at issue is how we describe the way the civilising works.
Things happen in 'If This is a Man' that are beyond ordinary daily experience, but it is still us to whom they are happening, and the understanding Levi seeks is no different in kind from that sought by Shakespeare in 'King Lear', or Conrad in 'The Heart of Darkness'.
'Great Expectations', in short, is a more damning account of the mess Dickens himself had made of love than any denunciation on behalf of the outraged wives club could ever be.
Things go bad after a divorce and often stay that way. It is rare for the parties to return placidly to a time before they met. A bitterness lingers on. Those who call this our Independence Day, fantasising of returning to a never-never time before they married, when they were free, easy, single, and master of their fate, are delusional.