The Torah plays a significant role in Reb Smolinsky. Throughout the novel, Reb Smolinsky (Sara’s father) references the teachings of the Torah to dictate the actions of his family. The Torah also has symbolic importance because it serves a divider between the traditional (old world) and the New World. Besides, serving as holy document for Jews it also holds assimilation value for the Smolinsky family. According to the article “All Words, Words, Words”: Linguistic Journey and Transformation in Anzia Yezierska “The Bread Givers” by Ruth Beinstock Anolik she declares “Mr. Smolinsky insistence on maintaining a distinct culture and distinct language also separates him from his own family of Yiddish-speaking, English assimilating woman. He is able to maintain his cultural aloofness, his stance as a permanent outsider, because he is shielded from the immigrant need to translate by his wife and daughters who act as cultural translators and economic mediators, interceding for him as they did in Poland” (Anolik 13). From this we can see and get a better understanding of why Reb Smolinsky strictly adheres to the teachings of the Torah. Additionally, it also makes one gain better clarity of reading the novel because there are several moments in the text where a Yiddish would be tossed in the text making one question the meaning of the word. Culture assimilation is key to surviving in the New World but Reb Smolinsky makes no effort to even try it.
Anolik, Ruth Bienstock. “‘All Words, Words, about Words’: Linguistic Journey and Transformation in Anzia Yezierska’s ‘The Bread Givers.’” Studies in American Jewish Literature (1981-), vol. 21, 2002, pp. 12–23. JSTOR, JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/41205955.
The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Photography Collection, The New York Public Library. “Torah” The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1940 – 1979.