The Wicked Son: Anti-Semitism, Self-hatred, and the Jews (Jewish Encounters)

3.48 avg rating
( 164 ratings by Goodreads )
 
9780805242072: The Wicked Son: Anti-Semitism, Self-hatred, and the Jews (Jewish Encounters)
View all copies of this ISBN edition:
 
 

Part of the Jewish Encounter series

As might be expected from this fiercely provocative writer, David Mamet’s interest in anti-Semitism is not limited to the modern face of an ancient hatred but encompasses as well the ways in which many Jews have themselves internalized that hatred. Using the metaphor of the Wicked Son at the Passover seder—the child who asks, “What does this story mean to you?”—Mamet confronts what he sees as an insidious predilection among some Jews to seek truth and meaning anywhere—in other religions, in political movements, in mindless entertainment—but in Judaism itself. At the same time, he explores the ways in which the Jewish tradition has long been and still remains the Wicked Son in the eyes of the world.

Written with the searing honesty and verbal brilliance that is the hallmark of Mamet’s work, The Wicked Son is a scathing look at one of the most destructive and tenacious forces in contemporary life, a powerfully thought-provoking and important book.

"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.

About the Author:

David Mamet is a Pulitzer Prize—winning playwright. He is the author of Glengarry Glen Ross, The Cryptogram, and Boston Marriage, among other plays. He has also published three novels and many screenplays, children’s books, and essay collections.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

The Four Sons of the Haggadah
The rebbe was plagued by mice.
The mice were eating his books,
and nothing could dissuade them.
He searched in vain for a deterrent.
Until, reading the Shulkhan Arukh,
he came across the statutes governing Passover.
The Shulkhan Arukh unequivocally states
that nothing may be eaten after the afikomen.
So the rebbe crumpled the afikomen
and sprinkled the crumbs over his books.
But the mice were smarter than the rebbe;
first they ate the Shulkhan Arukh,
then they ate the afikomen,
and then they ate his books.
—As told by Rabbi Lawrence Kushner  
 
In the section of the Passover Haggadah called “The Four Sons,” we find “What are the laws, the ordinances and the rulings which Hashem has commanded us?”   
 
The answer being, “You should inform this child of all the laws of Pesach, including the ruling that nothing should be eaten after the afikomen.”   
 
Passover Haggadah, the Feast of Freedom, the Rabbinical Assembly.  
 
The wise child asks for information, and, in my Haggadah, he receives information, humor, which is to say, welcome to his tradition. His desire to learn and participate is rewarded with love—the other sons present their requests as if information were going to cure them of their anomie. Estrangement, hurt, rancor, alienation from the world, can, in the other-than-wise, be misinterpreted as, and assigned to, a failure of their tradition.
 
The second of the four sons, the wicked child, asks “What does this ritual mean to you?”
 
He is wicked in that his question is rhetorical—it is not even a request for information; it is an assault.
 
The wicked Jewish child removes himself from his tradition, and sets up as a rationalist and judge of those who would study, learn, and belong. Here is a joke for him.
 
The Minsker apikoros met the Pinsker apikoros. “I challenge your claim to preeminence,” said the Minsker; “defend your excellence as an apikoros.
 
“I’m not sure I believe in God,” said the Pinkser.
 
I’m not sure I believe in God,” replied the Minsker. “And I eat pork, I work on Shabbos, and I never go to shul.”
 
“You aren’t an apikoros,” said the Pinsker. “You’re a goy.”
 
The third son is the simple son, who asks simply, “Ma Hu?” or “What is this?”
 
We are told to tell him, “It is with a mighty hand that Hashem took us out of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.”
 
A borscht belt joke: Why did the Jews wander forty years in the desert? Because they wouldn’t ask directions.
 
This is good, accurate ethnic humor; but it is not true that the Jews wandered forty years. They spent five weeks journeying between the Sea of Reeds and the Jordan River. Where Moses sent out the scouts. The scouts returned and said that the giants inhabited the land, that the scouts looked to themselves as grasshoppers and that they felt that so they must seem in the eyes of the giants.
 
Rabbi Finley teaches that this sin, of lack of faith, this inability to change, kept the Israelites in the desert, until God saw that the generation of the desert had died off, that time had killed the sin of acceptance of Slavery.
 
A new generation had been born that had never seen Egypt, and these people were educable and simple enough to ask, “What is this?”
 
The fourth child is he who does not know how to ask. For him, one is supposed to open the discussion.
 
To the wicked son, who asks, “What does all this mean to you?” To the Jews who, in the sixties, envied the Black Power Movement; who, in the nineties, envied the Palestinians; who weep at Exodus but jeer at the Israel Defense Forces; who nod when Tevye praises tradition but fidget through the seder; who might take their curiosity to a dogfight, to a bordello or an opium den but find ludicrous the notion of a visit to the synagogue; whose favorite Jew is Anne Frank and whose second-favorite does not exist; who are humble in their desire to learn about Kwanzaa and proud of their ignorance of Tu Bi’Shvat; who dread endogamy more than incest; who bow the head reverently at a baptism and have never attended a bris—to you, who find your religion and race repulsive, your ignorance of your history a satisfaction, here is a book from your brother.

"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.

Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780805211573: The Wicked Son: Anti-Semitism, Self-hatred, and the Jews (Jewish Encounters Series)

Featured Edition

ISBN 10:  0805211578 ISBN 13:  9780805211573
Publisher: Schocken, 2009
Softcover

Top Search Results from the AbeBooks Marketplace

1.

Mamet, David
Published by Schocken
ISBN 10: 0805242074 ISBN 13: 9780805242072
New Hardcover Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
Your Online Bookstore
(Houston, TX, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Schocken. Hardcover. Condition: New. 0805242074 Ships promptly from Texas. Seller Inventory # Z0805242074ZN

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 10.87
Convert currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
Within U.S.A.
Destination, rates & speeds

2.

David Mamet
Published by Schocken (2006)
ISBN 10: 0805242074 ISBN 13: 9780805242072
New Hardcover Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
Solr Books
(Skokie, IL, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Schocken, 2006. Hardcover. Condition: New. Ships Fast! Satisfaction Guaranteed!. Seller Inventory # mon0000717466

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 6.89
Convert currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 3.99
Within U.S.A.
Destination, rates & speeds

3.

David Mamet
Published by Schocken (2006)
ISBN 10: 0805242074 ISBN 13: 9780805242072
New Hardcover Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
Ergodebooks
(RICHMOND, TX, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Schocken, 2006. Hardcover. Condition: New. Seller Inventory # DADAX0805242074

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 15.34
Convert currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 3.99
Within U.S.A.
Destination, rates & speeds

4.

David Mamet
Published by Schocken Books
ISBN 10: 0805242074 ISBN 13: 9780805242072
New Hardcover Quantity Available: 5
Seller:
THE SAINT BOOKSTORE
(Southport, United Kingdom)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Schocken Books. Hardback. Condition: New. New copy - Usually dispatched within 2 working days. Seller Inventory # B9780805242072

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 11.81
Convert currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 9.09
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, rates & speeds

5.

David Mamet
Published by Schocken Books, United States (2006)
ISBN 10: 0805242074 ISBN 13: 9780805242072
New Hardcover Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
Book Depository International
(London, United Kingdom)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Schocken Books, United States, 2006. Hardback. Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. As might be expected from this fiercely provocative writer, David Mamet s interest in anti-Semitism is not limited to the modern face of an ancient hatred but encompasses as well the ways in which many Jews have themselves internalized that hatred. Using the metaphor of the Wicked Son at the Passover seder-the child who asks, What does this story mean to you? -Mamet confronts what he sees as an insidious predilection among some Jews to seek truth and meaning anywhere-in other religions, in political movements, in mindless entertainment-but in Judaism itself. At the same time, he explores the ways in which the Jewish tradition has long been and still remains the Wicked Son in the eyes of the world. Written with the searing honesty and verbal brilliance that is the hallmark of Mamet s work, The Wicked Son is a scathing look at one of the most destructive and tenacious forces in contemporary life, a powerfully thought-provoking and important book. Seller Inventory # AAZ9780805242072

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 20.93
Convert currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, rates & speeds

6.

David Mamet
Published by Schocken Books, United States (2006)
ISBN 10: 0805242074 ISBN 13: 9780805242072
New Hardcover Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
The Book Depository
(London, United Kingdom)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Schocken Books, United States, 2006. Hardback. Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. As might be expected from this fiercely provocative writer, David Mamet s interest in anti-Semitism is not limited to the modern face of an ancient hatred but encompasses as well the ways in which many Jews have themselves internalized that hatred. Using the metaphor of the Wicked Son at the Passover seder-the child who asks, What does this story mean to you? -Mamet confronts what he sees as an insidious predilection among some Jews to seek truth and meaning anywhere-in other religions, in political movements, in mindless entertainment-but in Judaism itself. At the same time, he explores the ways in which the Jewish tradition has long been and still remains the Wicked Son in the eyes of the world. Written with the searing honesty and verbal brilliance that is the hallmark of Mamet s work, The Wicked Son is a scathing look at one of the most destructive and tenacious forces in contemporary life, a powerfully thought-provoking and important book. Seller Inventory # AAZ9780805242072

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 21.41
Convert currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, rates & speeds

7.

David Mamet
Published by KUPERARD (BRAVO LTD) (2006)
ISBN 10: 0805242074 ISBN 13: 9780805242072
New Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
Books2Anywhere
(Fairford, GLOS, United Kingdom)
Rating
[?]

Book Description KUPERARD (BRAVO LTD), 2006. HRD. Condition: New. New Book. Shipped from UK in 4 to 14 days. Established seller since 2000. Seller Inventory # CW-9780805242072

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 11.07
Convert currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 11.79
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, rates & speeds

8.

David Mamet
ISBN 10: 0805242074 ISBN 13: 9780805242072
New Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
Speedy Hen LLC
(Sunrise, FL, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # ST0805242074. Seller Inventory # ST0805242074

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 26.33
Convert currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
Within U.S.A.
Destination, rates & speeds

9.

David Mamet
Published by Schocken (2006)
ISBN 10: 0805242074 ISBN 13: 9780805242072
New Hardcover Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
Irish Booksellers
(Portland, ME, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Schocken, 2006. Condition: New. book. Seller Inventory # M0805242074

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 24.90
Convert currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 3.27
Within U.S.A.
Destination, rates & speeds

10.

David Mamet
Published by Schocken Books (2006)
ISBN 10: 0805242074 ISBN 13: 9780805242072
New Hardcover Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
Ria Christie Collections
(Uxbridge, United Kingdom)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Schocken Books, 2006. Condition: New. book. Seller Inventory # ria9780805242072_rkm

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 24.48
Convert currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 5.07
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, rates & speeds

There are more copies of this book

View all search results for this book