A review of Allan Weiss’ “A Little Leavening” in OnSpec Vol 26, no. 3
By Derek Newman-Stille
Allan Weiss excites the imagination with another Jewish wizard story. Eliezer is caught between his religious obligation to celebrate seder and his need to fulfill his obligation to help all of those in need. Weiss plays with the interaction between a multiplicity of identities and responsibilities and the sometimes conflicting relationship between these multiple positions.
Eliezer has been introduced in previous stories by Weiss as a wizard who is being punished for poking around in mysteries that were considered none of his business and is therefore religiously required to help out any people who seek his assistance. Along with his psychic horse, Melech, who provides a saucy reply to the wizard’s kvetching, Eliezer wanders the landscape assisting people in need.
Despite the fact that he has been punished for seeking forbidden knowledge, Eliezer is in a perpetual state of learning, acquiring new perspectives from those he encounters. “A Little Leavening” is a tale about his conflicting responsibilities, but it is also a tale about his need to acquire some understanding of and tolerance for the goyim, the non-Jewish people who assist him.
Weiss’ powerful narration allows the reader to easily hear Eliezer’s tone and quality of voice, bringing the reader into the narrator’s realm as a participant in the story.
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To discover more about the work of Allan Weiss, visit his website at http://www.yorku.ca/aweiss/