Characters

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Last Updated on May 5, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 418

Leo Finkle Leo Finkle has spent the last six years studying to become a rabbi at New York’s Yeshivah University. Because he believes that he will have a better chance of getting employment with a congregation if he is married, Leo consults a professional matchmaker. Leo is a cold person;...

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Leo Finkle
Leo Finkle has spent the last six years studying to become a rabbi at New York’s Yeshivah University. Because he believes that he will have a better chance of getting employment with a congregation if he is married, Leo consults a professional matchmaker. Leo is a cold person; he comes to realize that ‘‘he did not love God so well as he might, because he had not loved man.’’ When Finkle falls in love with Salzman’s daughter, Stella, the rabbinical student must confront his own emotional failings.

Lily Hirschorn
Lily Hirschorn is introduced to Leo Finkle, the rabbinical student, by Pinye Salzman, the matchmaker. She is a schoolteacher, comes from a good family, converses on many topics, and Leo considers her ‘‘not unpretty.’’ It soon becomes clear, however, that the match between them will not work.

Pinye Salzman
Leo consults Pinye Salzman, who is a professional matchmaker. Salzman is an elderly man who lives in great poverty. He is unkempt in appearance and smells of fish. While Salzman works to bring couples together, Leo has reason to believe that the matchmaker, or ‘‘commercial cupid,’’ is occasionally dishonest about the age and financial status of his clients. Salzman seems greatly dismayed when Leo falls in love with Stella. Yet Leo begins to suspect that Pinye, whom he thinks of as a ‘‘trickster,’’ had ‘‘planned it all to happen this way.’’

Stella Salzman
Stella Salzman is the daughter of Pinye Salzman, the matchmaker. Salzman has disowned his daughter, evidently because she has committed some grave act of disobedience. When Leo, who has fallen in love with Stella, asks her father where he might find her, the matchmaker replies: ‘‘She is a wild one—wild, without shame. This is not a bride for a rabbi.’’ When he finally meets Stella she is smoking, leaning against a lamp post in the classic stance of the prostitute, but Leo believes he sees in her eyes ‘‘a desperate innocence.’’

Leo consults Pinye Salzman, who is a professional matchmaker. Salzman is an elderly man who lives in great poverty. He is unkempt in appearance and smells of fish. While Salzman works to bring couples together, Leo has reason to believe that the matchmaker, or ‘‘commercial cupid,’’ is occasionally dishonest about the age and financial status of his clients. Salzman seems greatly dismayed when Leo falls in love with Stella. Yet Leo begins to suspect that Pinye, whom he thinks of as a ‘‘trickster,’’ had ‘‘planned it all to happen this way.’’

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