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Agnon, Shmuel Yosef

  • Our sages of blessed memory have said that we must not enjoy any pleasure in this world without reciting a blessing. If we eat any food, or drink any beverage, we must recite a blessing over them before and after. If we breathe the scent of goodly grass, the fragrance of spices, the aroma of good fruits, we pronounce a blessing over the pleasure. The same applies to pleasures of the sight. And the same applies to pleasures of the ear.

  • Who were my mentors in poetry and literature? This is a matter of opinion. Some see in my books the influences of authors whose names, in my ignorance, I have not even heard, while others see the influences of poets whose names I have heard but whose writings I have not read. And what is my opinion? >From whom did I receive nurture? Not every man remembers the name of the cow which supplied him with each drop of milk he has drunk.

  • People's talk and the stories they tell have been engraved on my heart, and some of them have flown into my pen.

  • I am very small indeed in my own eyes.

  • If I am proud of anything, it is that I have been granted the privilege of living in the land which God promised our forefathers to give us, as it is written.

  • Our days on earth are like a shadow, and the time of our affliction is the length of our days.

  • I am generally ashamed to walk out in new clothes. And why am I ashamed? Is it because I don't want to embarrass the others who don't have new things? Or perhaps because a new coat makes you stand out, and you seem to be clothes and nothing else.

  • A home from which you can be ejected at any time is no true home.

  • God in heaven sits on high and plays games with us. He has plenty to do up there, what with building worlds and then knocking them down again, breaking things up and then rebuilding them, and yet he can manage to put his mind even to a little grocer in his shop or to a babe in the cradle.

  • It is not enough for a man to dwell in the Land of Israel, he must also pray to be free.

  • But perhaps the truth newly discovered is itself only temporary and when new discoveries are made these truths too will be abandoned. But one truth remains for ever, and that is the search for truth.

  • Sometimes small things lead to great joys.