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Which Book Can (Almost) Stop a Bullet?

Hint: HaShem may have something to do with it

Marc Tracy
January 03, 2011

Big books tend to be known as “door-stoppers.” But what about bullet-stoppers? A group of book-minded young folks affiliated with Electric Literature, including Jewcy editor (and Friend-of-The-Scroll) Jason Diamond, decided to find out which big 2010 novel is most adept at defending you from an assassination attempt; the results were filmed by Alex Markman, who is also, independently, a Friend-of-The-Scroll.

I won’t give away the winner before the jump. But I will tell you that after the jump, you will a special comment from the author of the book that did the best job at halting the metal harbinger of death.

So mazel tov to (Tablet Magazine contributing editor and, again, Friend-of-The-Scroll) Joshua Cohen, author of Witz! Josh writes in:

I remember reading somewhere of a bracha said in the name of the Angel Gabriel, invoking Him to help one become invisible, or unrecognizable, to stop a charging horse or sword—or something. For those who don’t believe in Kabbalah, there are the accounts of a copy of Tanach, or Tehilim, or whatever, stopping a knife or bullet—I’ve heard IDF versions, I’ve heard a Jew-in-Patton’s-Army version, etc. For those, however, who don’t believe in even traditional scripture, I guess there will always be fiction … .

I forgive the folks at Electric Literature for doubting the holiness of my endeavor. And I beg them not to reveal the phrase buried deep in the 700s that actually performed the magic operation of projectile stoppage. Witz also contains sentences that, if read correctly, heal the leper, regrow hair, restore virility, and retake Congress. But I leave their discovery to future readers.

Marc Tracy is a staff writer at The New Republic, and was previously a staff writer at Tablet. He tweets @marcatracy.