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Shmuel Y. Agnon

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  • I was five years old when I wrote my first song. It was out of longing for my father that I wrote it.

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  • If we eat any food, or drink any beverage, we must recite a blessing over them before and after.

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  • Our sages of blessed memory have said that we must not enjoy any pleasure in this world without reciting a blessing.

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  • For myself, I am very small indeed in my own eyes.

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  • But always I regarded myself as one who was born in Jerusalem.

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  • At the age of nineteen and a half, I went to the Land of Israel to till its soil and live by the labour of my hands. As I did not find work, I sought my livelihood elsewhere.

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  • As a result of the historic catastrophe in which Titus of Rome destroyed Jerusalem and Israel was exiled from its land, I was born in one of the cities of the Exile.

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  • After all my possessions had been burned, God gave me the wisdom to return to Jerusalem.

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  • I returned to Jerusalem, and it is by virtue of Jerusalem that I have written all that God has put into my heart and into my pen.

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  • Not every man remembers the name of the cow which supplied him with each drop of milk he has drunk.

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  • When I first began to combine letters other than Hebrew, I read every book in German that came my way, and from these I certainly received according to the nature of my soul.

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  • The fate of the singers who, like my songs, went up in flame was also the fate of the books which I later wrote. All of them went up in flame to Heaven in a fire which broke out one night at my home in Bad Homburg as I lay ill in a hospital.

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  • I have also written a book about the Giving of the Torah, and a book on the Days of Awe, and a book on the books of Israel that have been written since the day the Torah was given to Israel.

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  • Through these offices it was my privilege to get to know almost every Jewish person, and those whom I did not come to know through these offices I came to know through love and a desire to know my brethren, the members of my people.

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