My Name Is Asher Lev

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The Rebbe: Power and Influence The Rebbe was an authority figure who had great power and influence over the Hasidic Jewish community in the novel, My Name is Asher Lev, by Chaim Potok. He was a man full of wisdom and intelligence. Everyone respected the Rebbe, of course, and was looked upon as the leader of the Hasidic community. He was capable of giving opportunities as well as taking them away. He had a great understanding of people’s needs and the way to achieve them. Of course, he was updated about everything that happened; therefore, he usually succeeded in solving the people’s problems. I thought that the Rebbe had a great deal of interaction with the two major themes of the novel: the expectations of the Hasidic community versus “the gift”/Asher’s true identity and free-will versus destiny. “I have looked upon you as a son,” the Rebbe once told Asher Lev. (Potok 244) Asher was the son of Aryeh Lev, the emissary for the Rebbe. In the Lev family, it is expected to serve people from the Hasidic community by helping them move to America or building schools and yeshiva in different countries, run errands for and follow orders from the Rebbe, and etc. But Asher had a different desire of how he wanted to spend his life. The Rebbe knew what was happening to Aryeh’s family and he thought of the best way to help. Without his father’s consent, the Rebbe helped Asher to fulfill his dream of becoming an artist by getting Jacob Kahn, one of the greatest artists at that time, to teach him about art. Not a lot of people approved of Asher drawing and becoming an artist, including his father. They thought that Asher’s gift was from the “Other Side” and in no way did they encourage it. Most of them believed that their life should be dedicated to the Torah and the Jewish way of life. On the other hand, the Rebbe did not think like them: “I do not hold with those who

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