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The driving force in Sara’s life is her desire to find her own version of
the light she sees radiating from her father. As a child, she yearns for
something that will inspire her, such as Morris Lipkin’s poetry briefly does. As
a teen, she dreams of becoming a teacher so that all eyes will be on her the way
they are on her father when he preaches. Later, she finds books that fuel her
from day to day. When she gives up Max Goldstein because he would have stopped
her education, she comforts herself with the thought that her sacrifice is like
her father’s rejection of worldly success in order to study the Torah more
fully. When she begins to understand what it takes to find an inner light, the
first thing she wants to do is share it with him, believing he’s the only one
who will truly understand. Knowledge, she decides, is what she wants more than
anything in the world, and she devotes the same time and energy to obtaining it
that her father does to studying his holy books.
During her quest for an internal flame, Sara hones her sense of fury at
the injustices committed by others. Though she has no backing, she has the
courage to protest at the restaurant when the cook gives her less meat because
she is a woman. She is furious with both Berel and Jacob for hurting her
sisters, and her hatred for her father begins when she sees the way he denies
his daughters any chance to have lives of their own choosing. This need to fight
injustice, however, is also what helps her reconcile with her father, and the
first steps are inspired by her mother’s promise and the guilt Sara feels at
returning home just as she is dying. Later, when Sara sees the way her father’s
new wife treats him, she considers the possibility of once again living under
one roof with her father, despite the tyranny she fears will re-enter her life.
Her father’s light is threatened, and Sara knows better than anyone the
importance of keeping it lit.
Ace your assignments with our guide to Bread Givers!