A TALE OF THREE WISHES by Isaac Bashevis Singer


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It seems that on the night of Hoshanah Rabbah there's a minute when the sky opens and wishes come true. Anyone who's heard about the trouble wishes can cause (and who hasn't?) will be more tickled than surprised when Esther absentmindedly asks for a blintz at the holy moment, Shlomah is so angry that he wishes Esther were a blintz, and poor Moshe ("when he saw that his beloved Esther had turned into a blintz, he fell into a terrible despair") has to use his chance to make things right again. After this fiasco the Watcher in the Night appears and counsels the children to gain their ambitions "by effort." They do, becoming respectively beautiful, wise and religious (though we'd say that Moshe was the wise one all along) in a conclusion that generates a pious glow but none of the wit characteristic of Singer in full stride. Similarly, Lieblich's small paintings create just the right mood of peasant naivete, but have been positioned in a way that kills the tale's dramatic development, especially when we see Esther wrapped in dough before we know what's happening to her. A moral pleasantry.
Pub Date: March 1st, 1976
ISBN: 0374373701
Page count: 27pp
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1st, 1976


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