In Isaac Bashevis Singer's short story "Guests on a Winter Night", the aunt of our main character is telling him about his great-grandparents:

She said to me, "Your great-grandfather, whose namesake you are, could have become a rabbi, but he refused. He studied all day long, and your great-grandmother, Hinde Esther, provided for the family. I knew them both well. She had a dry-goods store, but between one customer and the next she read The Heritage of the Deer. Once, a merchant from Lublin [..."]
(translation by the author and Dorothea Straus)

Why is The Heritage of the Deer specifically mentioned here? I Googled the title and I couldn't find any specific book called The Heritage of the Deer; it sounds like a book on deer evolution and history, which would be an odd thing to highlight in this discussion given the religious background.

Why is this title in particular called out?

  • "Heritage of the deer" is a reference to Jeremiah 3:19 where צְבִ֖י is usually translated as "beautiful" but also means "deer". See this answer on judaism.se. Commented Feb 6, 2022 at 21:44
  • I think the line is a joke: the store had so few customers, the aunt says, that Esther could read a whole book in the interval between one customer and the next. Commented Feb 7, 2022 at 13:23


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