YOSSI ASKS THE ANGELS FOR HELP by Miriam Chaikin

YOSSI ASKS THE ANGELS FOR HELP

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KIRKUS REVIEW

The latest in Chaikin's bookshelf on Jewish family life and holidays, and her second story about yeshiva student Yossi, is cast in an established holiday-story mode, conveying a familiar lesson with gentle humor in a context of traditional belief and custom. Yossi's problem, as he explains it in a desperate prayer: ""Holy One, I hate to bother you, but I'm in a pickle. I had money to buy presents for everyone for Hanukkah, and I lost it. The main thing is, I hate to disappoint my little sister. If angels do come on Hanukkah, please tell them to see me. I need help."" The humor derives from Yossi's preoccupation with detecting signs of and from the angels, especially during his family's celebration of the first night of Hanukkah. His mistake is in relying on God and the angels to take care of things--until his stern rebbe sympathetically advises him to ""Try acting as if God doesn't exist."" At that, Yossi's brain clicks into gear and he finds the money on his first guess. Though the scheme would be too familiar and the solution too quick for a realistic story, in this genre the expected is what's required. Chaikin fills the bill engagingly, and Mathers gives the scenes an odd slant that is both distinctly her own and fittingly evocative.

Pub Date: April 17th, 1985
Publisher: Harper & Row