Sitting in a church in Burgenland on Sunday morning, me, a Jewish boy who was forced by his father to go to the synagogue every Saturday, I felt funny, strange, out of place. Melville forces us to think about God and religion again. Topics that I put aside a long time ago and had no need to revisit. But here we are in Burgenland, of all places, creating a religious ceremony, asking a local priest to give us a blessing.
One of the greatest chapters ever written in the English language is the one in Moby Dick titled »The Whiteness of the Whale«. Here we gain an insight into the profound symbolism that Melville employs in his novel. He explores how whiteness is used in history, in religion, and in nature. The terms he uses to describe the appearance of whiteness in these areas include elusive, ghastly, and transcendent horror, as well as sweet, honorable, and pure. All of these are descriptive terms that are symbolized in one way or another by the presence of whiteness. In this chapter Melville writes: