RLG232H1 Lecture Notes - A Serious Man

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27 Mar 2012

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March 22, 12
- Watch A Serious Man
- Discuss 3 of 4 films
Book of Job and A Serious Man: Differences
- Job’s 3 friends give him bad/useless advice (repent for sins) and try
to rationalize the distribution of justice in the world.
- The 2 (!) rabbis with whom Larry speaks give him good/useful
advice: he needs to look at the world with new perspective (first
rabbi), and G-d’s ways are a mystery for which there are no
answers (second rabbi).
- The Central theme in the Book of Job is the possibility of
disinterested righteousness.
- What’s the central theme in A Serious Man?
- Larry on his failed marriage: “it was a bolt from the blue. What
does that mean? Everything that I thought was one way turns out
to be another.”
- This is what Job must have felt.
- Reference to the Book of Job?
- Woman at the beach says to Larry: “It’s not always easy trying to
decipher what G-d is trying to tell you. But it’s not something you
have to figure out by yourself. We’re Jews, we’ve got that well of
tradition to draw on, to help us understand.”
- Clive’s father to Larry regarding the bribe: “Accept the mystery”
- Job realizes that he myst “accept the myster” after G-d refuses to
explain to him why he suffered.
- The First rabbi’s message: its all about perspective
- Similar to what G-d tells Job: you’re trying to rationalize the
universe’s distribution of justice. Don’t do that. Take a different
perspective. Have faith in G-d, know that G-d is in control and know
that G-d is just. In a way: see G-d in everything.
- How the door is a place of mise-en-scene.
- Might need to perform a style analysis on A Serious Man.
- Reb Groshkover Dybukk we should not fear this person but
when they enter doors where they are supposed to be.
- Bad things happen when they open the door in to one of his natural
- Maybe Larry was related to the beginning story.
- Immediately given a note from the administrator about Clive.
- When Larry enters his natural settings through a door Clive
wasn’t invited.
- Leaving the car door, and his neighbor is on his property.
- The next day he opens the door to the office and immediately he is
given another note.
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