Asher Lev and his Ruling Passion

A ruling passion in an individuals life has the ability to demonstrate an effect on a persons life including the atmosphere surrounding them. In the novel My Name is Asher Lev by Chaim Potok, the author traces the making of a great painter from the time of Asher being an ordinary boy, to his response to his ruling passion, leading to his successful yet controversial exhibitions of being a distinguished painter. The book centers on the growing separation between Asher and his family and his community as he devotes himself to painting. Ashers commanding gift of art has resulted in Asher alienating himself from his family and community, his ruling passion comes in conflict with their values. Ashers devotion to painting is at odds with the values of his family and community. Asher states at the very beginning of the novel; (p.3) As a matter of fact, observant Jews did not paint at all — in the way that I am painting. So strong words are being written and spoken about me, myths are being generated.. Asher confesses that he is a traitor, an apostate, a self-hater, an inflicter of shame upon his family, his friends, his people. Painting human figures is not a tradition among religious Jews. Ashers mother bluntly says, Painting is for goyim. Jews dont draw and paint. His dedication to paintings distracts Asher from his Torah study, which the community sees as the proper way for a boy to spend his time, and that is defined by the episode in which he draws on a page of the Chumash. Also, Ashers continuous devotion to his art turns him away from the service to the Rebbe and Russian Jews, leading to Ashers members of his family accepting it as their responsibility. His everlasting dedication to his paintings sends Asher against his family and community, but it isnt just the act painting that has accomplished negativity apon their values, the subject matter Asher chooses makes it worse. Asher…

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