I. L. Peretz Quotes

A people’s memory is history; and as a man without a memory, so a people without a history cannot grow wiser, better.

In the second and third exiles we have served as a living protest against greed and hate, against physical force, against “might makes right”!

[About Jews] By nature we are like all other human beings, yet our people is unlike others, because our life is different, our history is different, our teacher is the Exile.

The Hebrew language… is the only glue which holds together our scattered bones. It also holds together the rings in the chain of time…. It binds us to those who built pyramids, to those who shed their blood on the ramparts of Jerusalem, and to those who, at the burning stakes, cried Shema Yisrael!

In this world it is very dangerous to be weak.

[About Jews] Among other nations, the vital problems are: a good crop, extension of the boundaries, strong armies, colonies; among us, if we wish to be true to ourselves, the vital questions are: conscience, freedom, culture, ethics.

A letter depends on how you read it, a melody on how you sing it.

Prosperity may be found in small as in big business.

The worst dog gets the best bone.

Yiddish, the language which will ever bear witness to the violence and murder inflicted on us, bear the marks of our expulsions from land to land, the language which absorbed the wails of the fathers, the laments of the generations, the poison and bitterness of history, the language whose precious jewels are the undried, uncongealed Jewish tears.

To be of the eternal, you must be of the earth.

Youth is fair, a graceful stag, Leaping, playing in a park. Age is gray, a toothless hag, Stumbling in the dark.

Time is change, transformation, evolution.

We take a drink only for the sake of the benediction.

A heap of bricks is not yet a house.

[About Jews] Sheer egotism compels us to the purest love of mankind as a whole…. Our hearts are like a sponge, receptive to all the newest humanitarian ideas; and our sympathy goes out to all the unfortunate, all the oppressed.

Ugliness is the greatest of all sins.

Prayer sometimes dulls the hunger of the pauper, like a mother’s finger thrust into the mouth of her starving baby.

It is not only individuals peoples too cannot live merely for themselves. The whole world must be redeemed.

A stranger’s rose is but a thorn.

If the husband sits on a chair in the Garden of Eden, his wife is his footstool.

Don’t look up to heaven, for what will you see in the sky, except stars, luminous but cold, wholly insensitive to pity?

Purim is the birthday of the first Schutz-Jude , the first Jewish toady to foreign royalty.

At the Throne of Glory it is not the nobly-born that are beloved, but the nobly-risen.

[About the diaspora] Canaan is too small for God’s children. The Land of Israel will spread through all lands!