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My Name is Asher Lev

Chaim Potok

Chapter 2

Chapter 1

Chapter 2, page 2

page 1 of 3
Summary

Asher begins his studies at the Ladover Yeshiva. He is aware that his teachers are particularly looking out for him since they know that his father is away often, traveling for the Rebbe. He stops drawing; and when queried as to why by his mother, Asher responds that drawing is "from the sitra achra (other side), like Stalin."

Summers were spent at a Hasidic Bungalow Colony in the Berkshires, giving Asher time to spend with his mother. His mother became more organized and concerned with time. When Asher returns home late from school one day, she is frantically worried. Asher's father spends much of his time travelling and reading news about Russian Jews. When he is caught in snow and cannot return home one night, she is terrified. She is reminded of her brother's death, travelling for the Rebbe.

One summer Friday in 1952, Aryeh Lev returned to his family's bungalow in the Berkshires from a trip to Washington. He reveals that a number of Jewish writers, who had been taken prisoner, were killed by the Russians. He is noticeably disturbed.

Asher's fascination with Russia continues. He asks his mother about Yudel Krinsky and Siberia. He reads in a Ladover magazine about the Rebbe's father teaching Judaism in Russia against the will of the ruling authorities.

Six Jewish doctors are arrested in Russia, charged with plotting to kill Russian military leaders. Aryeh Lev is distraught at the news. Later in school, Asher attends a special assembly where the children are told of the event, the evils of the Russians and their hatred for Torah and Jews.

On the way home from school, Asher stops in Yudel Krinsky's stationary store. While buying a notebook and pencil, he asks Krinsky about Russia and discusses the Jewish doctors with him. When Asher returns home late, Mrs. Rackover asks where she should tell his mother he had been. Asher responds that he does not care.

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