But until that point of his engagement, how he felt terrible about not being engaged, and how (despite his "permission" for them to shidduch-date), he felt terrible as they became engaged while he remained single. An excerpt to the right.
One paragraph struck me as strange:
'Someone must have given you an ayin hara,' the elderly woman who lived on the first from said to him every time he passed by. At first, he was alarmed, but now he just smiled. If you don't believe in ayin hara, he knew it couldn't harm you. That's what they said. He neither believed nor wanted to believe.I wonder at this description. If he did not believe in ayin hara, why in the world was he initially alarmed? But more than that, his reason for not being alarmed appears self-contradictory. That is, he doesn't believe in ayin hara, and "they" said that if you did not believe in it, it cannot harm you. Whew! He is safe! Of course, for all those people who do believe in ayin hara, well, they are susceptible to its effects. But that means that he does believe that ayin hara is something real, that impacts people. Which means he in turn should be susceptible!
If he truly did not believe in the reality of ayin hara, then it would not matter what other people say about it? -- It is nonsense! Just like I am not unafraid of sheidim because my disbelief in them protects me from them, but rather because I do not believe they exist, such that there is nothing to be afraid of. This seems more like something an author who does believe in ayin hara would write, while trying unsuccessfully to get into the mind of the unbeliever.