I.L. Peretz's "The Magician"

Resource Kit by
Leslie Smith Rosen, Sadie Gold-Shapiro

Module Content



Joyce Carol Oates once wrote that all great stories start one of two ways: someone goes on a journey, or a stranger comes to town. In this charming story by I. L. Peretz, the stranger is a magician who fascinates the townspeople, and then saves Passover for an indigent couple. Later, the couple concludes that the magician was really the prophet Elijah, a key figure in the Passover seder.

While there are many wonderful translations of this short story, the contents of this kit are based on Hillel Halkin’s translation in The I.L. Peretz Reader (New Haven: Yale University, 2002).

Cover image: Marc Chagall's illustration of the Magician, published in I.L. Peretz Der kuntsenmakher, 1917.