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[Page 164]

Chapter Seven

Writers and Intellectuals

 

Reb Morcechai Yona Rosenfeld (MYSh”UB the shochet)

by A. Kahana

Translated by Jerrold Landau

{Photo page 164: Mordechai Yona Rosenfeld}

From among the expert intellectuals and writers of Przemysl, we must establish an honorable place for the shochet Reb Mordechai Yona [Mordechaj Jona, Mordecai Jonah] Rosenfeld, or as he was known in by his literary name, MYSh”UB, that is Mordechai Yona the Shochet and Bodek).[1]

He was a shochet by trade, at first in Medyka near Przemysl and later in the village of Sosnica next to Przemysl. He did not restrict himself to the four ells of slaughtering and checking, like other men of his vintage. Rather, he devoted a great deal of his time to research and philosophy. With the passage of time, he acquired knowledge in languages and translation. There was no expert like him, not only in the Talmud and decisors, but also in the guide of the Perplexed, Duties of the Heart, Crescas' the Light of G-d, and Ibn Ezra[2].

MYSh”UB wrote a few books of great intellectual worth. First, we much mention his book “The Near Light” which is a commentary on the Or Hachayim work of the Gaon and Kabbalist Rabbi Yosef Yaavetz, the student of Don Yitzchak Abarbanel. As is known, the Or Hachayim composition enters into a battle against Maimonides and his philosophical ideas, and shows clearly that most of the intellectuals and scholars of the Spanish era did not stand up to the test and left their people and their religion at a time of persecution, at the time when the simple masses sanctified the Name of heaven in public with all their might and all their soul. From here there is apparently a proof that one should oppose research and enlightenment. Reb Mordechai Yona fought the battle of Maimonides, who taught in favor of and found merit in research and philosophical matters, for only with their assistance was it possible to prove to the gentile sages the truth of the Torah and faith. He proves on the one hand that Maimonides ascribes importance to philosophical study and depth (that is, studying for the sake of study alone), for all these must obligate one in the 613 practical commandments, with all of their details and good deeds, in a definitive fashion.

In his composition “The Near Light” MYSh”UB displays wonderful and comprehensive expertise in the field of our philosophical literature.

The Gaon and scholar Rabbi Tzvi Elimelech of Dynow of blessed memory, the author of the Bnei Yissachar, published this commentary on the Or Chaim book in the name of “Maayan Ganim” (“Wellspring of Gardens) in which he attacks the Jewish intellectuals for their sin, impropriety and disparaging of philosophy, without keeping the commandments of the Torah. However Maayan Ganim is a composition with a

[Page 165]

confrontational style rather than objective science. MYSh”UB wished to rectify this fact for the better. MYSh”UB speaks about his rabbi and leader, Rabbi Tzvi Elimelech, with great awe and reverence. In the introduction he calls him “My teacher and rabbi, the holy Gaon of Israel, the author of the Bnei Yissachar book.”

MYSh”UB also wrote a wonderful commentary to the book of Job (published in Lvov by Reb Jakob Ehrenpreis in 1875) into which he demonstrated a great deal of his philosophical and linguistic knowledge. This composition is one of the finest in this area, and it is too bad that he did not leave behind other commentaries on other books of the Bible – or perhaps they were lost without trace. This commentary is divided into two parts:

a) “Hochach Milim” (“Proofs of Words”) – dealing with etymological and linguistic isssues.

b) “Kanaf Renanim” (“Pleasant Branch”) – a commentary on the ideas and dialogs of the book.

The wonderful introduction to this commentary has great value. It deals with the personality of the author of the book of Job and uses the trope symbol to explain the content. In this introduction he explains why he found it necessary to write this composition on a book that already has so much preceding commentary. In this commentary he opposes Maimonides, about whom he is usually effusive in praise and thirstily drinks up his words, because he wished to force in with difficulty various philosophical concepts of the Asharia sect and Aristotle into the dialogs of the book. MYSH”UB proves that these explanations are flimsy and do not stand up to the investigation, for there are many contradictions to those concepts in all of the dialogs.

In addition to this, MYSh”UB wrote the composition “Noten Taam Lashabat” (“Giving the Taste to the Sabbath”) and an excellent explanation called “Ayin Bochen” (“Investigative Eye”) on the book “Bechinat Olam” of Rabbi Yedayahu Hapnini Habadrashi.

From his works, it seems that MYSh”UB was influenced by the Ranak[3] the author of the Guide of the Perplexed of the Time. He adopted his clear and precise style.

According to his prime student, the prominent intellectual Rabbi Samuel Broch of Przemysl, Reb Yona Mordechai Rosenfeld was born in 5559 (1799) in Dynow (his grandfather was a rabbinical judge in the community of Przemysl). He was the student of the tzadik and Gaon Rabbi Tzvi Elimelech of Dynow, the author of the Bnei Yissachar. When he finished the course of study of shechita, he settled in Medyka and later in Sosnica near Przemysl. His first works in the field of Hebrew linguistics were published in Hamagid[4]. This caused the eyes of the greats of the generation, both the scholars and intellectuals, to turn toward him. These included Shadal[5], Schorr, Buber, Yaakov Reifman, etc.

The Hassidim persecuted him severely while he was still living in Medyka, for they could not bear the depth and breadth of his intellect. They demanded that the rabbi of Przemysl, Rabbi Josef Ascher Ehrenberg, remove him from his post of shochet. However, he was unable to do so since he had his writ of authorization from the rabbi and tzadik Rabbi Tzvi Elimelech of Dynow. Despite his intellectual pursuits, MYSh”UB excelled in his fear of Heaven. Throughout his life, he lived a life of poverty and meagerness. He earned his meager livelihood from shechita until he was 70 years old. He was forced to leave his post when he was about 70 years old, and he was accepted as a teacher in the home of the estate owner and philanthropist Reb Yehoshua Broch in his estate outside of Przemysl. He educated his sons.

There he had time, he found rest, and he authored his works. He returned to Sosnica during his latter years of life, but he was unable to continue with his work, so he lived a life of great poverty and want.

Only some isolated friends and dear students offered him any support. He remained in contact with the intellectuals of the generation especially those in Przemysl and environs (Jaroslaw, etc.) until the end of his life.

However, he soon became seriously ill. When he felt that his end was approaching, he commanded that he brought to Przemysl, where he died in 1886 at the age of 86.

To our dismay, there is no monument on the grave of this man, who was a teacher of the nation.


[Page 166]

Shimon Menachem Lazar [6]

by A. Kahana

Translated by Jerrold Landau

{Photograph page 166: Shimon Menachem Lazar}

Shimon Menachem Lazar, the editor of Hamitzpeh, was one of he most important and prolific intellectuals of our town, who was known both within Poland and outside its borders.

He was a descendent of Rabbi Eliezer Ish Horowitz (a descendent of the Holy Shela), the head of the rabbinical court of Kalusz. Lazar as born in Przemysl on the 3rd of Kislev 5622 (December 2, 1862)[7] to his father Reb Jehuda Leib Lazar, a modest, pious Jew, with a sensitive soul and poetic spirit. His father wore a spodek[8] but along with this he understood Hebrew and appreciated its translations. These are the roots of the intellectualism of Lazar the son, who was educated in the traditional style of Orthodox Jews, but studied Bible as well – according to the words of Sh. M. Lazar himself in his autobiography. His father did not depend on teachers, but taught his son himself every Sabbath and festival the Prophets and Writings[9] with Rashi's commentary as well as exegeses. He was considered to be a poor student during his time of study at cheder, for “his heart did not go after the didactics and many proposition that hang by the tip of a hair”. When he reached the age of majority he dedicated himself to the study of Talmud, and after some time he “became known as excellent scholar”. “It is as if an angel came to him and taught him the entire Torah in one night while standing on one foot.” In addition to the study of Talmud, Lazar also gained knowledge in the Hebrew language and secular studies, and made sure to acquire knowledge in Jewish and general history.

He had a special fondness for Bible, into which he delved deeply. He was not influenced by Protestant theological research, but he followed that path. Already during his youth, he wrote his first composition on that subject, called “The Paths of the Book of Hosea and its Commentary”. He displayed great fundamentals in this first composition, even though from that time the science progressed greatly and developed without bounds. He did not suffice himself with this, but wrote commentaries on all the books of the Bible.

He had the ability to innovate ideas. He wrote research anthologies delving into the history of the people of the east, especially during the time of the Bible. It is appropriate to praise his work on this subject called “The Nations of the Land of Israel and their Neighbors”, which was published during his time in Haeshkol of Gincig. His famous composition “The Mysteries of the Wonderful Legends of the Ten Tribes” caused great surprise.

[Page 167]

It explored the essence of the legends and reality on this complex topic. The article was printed in his time in Hashiloach, and later appeared in a special edition.

His journalistic work began for the most part from the time he settled in Krakow. Sh. M. Lazar writes the following about this era of his life: “After I lost my entire fortune, a glimmer of hope shone forth from a place I would not have imagined. Yaakov Shmuel Fuchs of Bialystok, the brother of the researcher of our history Dr. Shlomo Fuchs of blessed memory, took it upon himself in Berlin to continue the publication of Hamagid, the first Hebrew newspaper. Later he transferred it to Krakow. In those days, I was in Przemysl, and I regularly wrote communal and academic articles. Fuchs was happy with my articles, and within a short period of time, he invited me to come to his assistance. I answered his call, and I became a Hebrew writer and editor in 5656 (1896).”

At first, Lazar edited Hamagid along with his friend Fuchs. Later, starting from the year 5664 (1904), he edited Hamizpeh on his own for almost 18 years. Lazar dedicated great effort into this newspaper, writing publicity articles and especially publishing Biblical research. His primary activities can be found in the creation of a literary stage for the young forces who were beginning their work at this time. These included Dr. Josef Mieses, Matityahu Mieses, Asher Berish, Dov Kimchi, Sh. Agnon, Avigdor Fueurstein (Hameiri), and others.

If even at this time you were to ask laymen of the intelligentsia and lovers of intellectualism from that era, they would tell you about the great enthusiasm with which they awaited the appearance of the edition of Hamitzpeh each Friday, with its news and literature!

Lazar's relationship with his assistants was the same as his relationship with all experienced editors – he treated them seriously. He pushed aside with both hands the typesetters and weak clerks. However, to those who had talent, he related with the adage “push away with the left hand and draw nigh with the right hand”. People of true talent were not pushed away, and they continued gaining their experience and working until they overcame the obstacles and broke into the world of literature and journalism.

The fact that Lazar maintained this literary publication for almost 18 years, as has been noted, without any financial support from the community should be considered as a great merit of his. However, the war destroyed his enterprise. Lazar was conscripted for military service in 1916 at the age of 54[10]. He returned to his work without any assistance immediately after his liberation, and he endured no small amount of sacrifice in the continuation of his work.

During the war, a number of issues of his weekly were published. However, during the stormy times of emergency that passed over the Jews, he was forced to forego the continuation of his work, and his weekly passed from the stage of life in the year 5682 (1922).

Lazar did not stop to work, even under the most difficult of circumstances. On the contrary, he continued to work in his research and various works. During the last years of his life, he published a German-English dictionary in Berlin with the assistance of Professor Torczyner (today Tor-Sinai who lives in Jerusalem). Lazar also gave over a new and fundamental commentary to the Dvir publication. Many other compositions in the field of Jewish wisdom went forth from his hands, for the content of his life was writing, ideas and deep study.

Shimon Menachem Lazar died on the 10th of Av 5692 (August 12, 1932). His life was a fruitful life of enthusiasm and a life of great work until his final day.


[Page 168]

Images of Intellectuals in Przemysl

Translated by Jerrold Landau

(From the book of articles of Avraham Kahana of blessed memory in “Unzer Tribuna” (“Our Tribune”) in Przemysl.)[11]

During the era of the Haskalah movement, the city of Przemysl was also blessed with a number of interesting personalities worthy of esteem.

1) Jakob Ehrlich was born in Lvov in the year 1838 to parents who had moved from Russia to Austria. He received his education in the spirit of the Haskala and the love of the Hebrew Language. He opened a bank when he moved to Przemysl, but his he did not imbue his spirit into financial matters alone. Jakob Ehrlich developed a wide branching cultural and intellectual activity in the city. He founded the well known organization “Dorshei Torah Vadaat” (“Investigators of the Torah and Religion”) whose aim was to develop Jewish knowledge through lectures. For the most part, he himself was the lecturer. This organization was the cradle of the Zionist movement of the city.

Ehrlich also concerned himself with the practical education of the students of the Beis Midrashes. Thanks to him, many of these students gained secular knowledge and were able to work in practical, free professions. Jakob Ehrlich, who had talents in sport, wrote a number of literary works in the German and Hebrew languages. His treatise on “Christianity and its Opponents” is very interesting, but part of it was lost during the time of the First World War. His Hebrew compositions were written in the style of translation. In an anthology of Hebrew poetry, he deals with various topics: poorhouses, including those of Moshe Montefiore, a poem in honor of the 70th birthday of the poet Meir HaLevi Latris, topics on Biblical themes, epitaphs for grave monuments. He also includes dirges that are typical of his personality, as the text that might be written on his grave, which he wrote himself.

(Yud)[12] I know what is my worth – nothing and naught,

(Ayin) Therefore no heart or eye has deceived me.

(Kuf) You have examined my innards, You have scalded my kidneys.

(Beit) Alone and silent, I have borne my tribulations.

(Ayin) I have trusted in You, and all my sadness has fled.

(He) I have pondered Your ways, and all my joy has returned.

(Reish) My heart has loved only mercy and truth.

(Lamed) I did not do a bad turn, for my desire has only been peace.

(Yod) G-d forgive! Now I place my spirit in Your hand.

(Kaf) Have mercy upon me according to your great mercy – and let my slumber be sweet.

Jakob Ehrlich died in Przemysl at an old age in 1916.

2) Israel Moses [Izrael Mojzesz] Sobel was born in the year 5584 (1924). He was a Maskil in the religions-traditional-layman style. He as a master of language and well versed in the poetry of that time. He left behind manuscripts, mainly about his sermons in the small Beis Midrash. He wrote introductions and notes for the Przemysl communal ledger. He only published one book, “Ot Letova” (“A Portent for Good”), which was published in the year 5630 (1870). That book includes three sermons: a) on the value of the festival of Chanukah; b) on the problem of “Bad things happening to a good person”; c) on the comfort of Zion. The latter sermon was dedicated to Moses Montefiore, in whose honor he also composed poems. He earned a prize of the value of 4 l”sh[13] for one of these poems.

Among his compositions are patriotic poems celebrating the birth of the heir apparent Archduke Rudolf and the coronation of Kaiser Franz Josef and the king of Hungary.

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In addition to these literary works that were all written in eloquent language, he left the following compositions: a) “Chomer Bakodesh” (“Material about the Holy”), explanations of the Bible; 2) “Poter Mayim” on the Haftarot; 3) “Avot Labanim” (“Fathers for Sons”), an commentary on Pirke Avot; 4) “Doresh Tov”, a collections of sermons; 5) “Vayaged Moshe” on lore; 6) “Shirei Tefillot”, an anthology of poems on various events and personalities. He was very traditional in the field of science, so he was not comfortable with the modern commentaries of Shlomo [Shmuel] David Luzzatto.

3) Naftali Weinig was born in the year 1820 [in fact 1830 – ed.]. According to his own words, he was the scion of a family of rabbis, scholars and writers. His character is expressed in the polemical booklet “Mashpil Geim” (“Lowering the Proud”) which was published in 1873 by the Z. Zupnik printers in Przemysl. There is material of all types in it: Poems according to the style of that time, and a poem in honor of Montefiore on the occasion of his donating toward the building of a Beis Midrash for 10 Torah students (every line of that poem finishes with 5625)[14].

In that booklet there are also a number of dirges about the plague that afflicted the city in the year 5633 (1873), in which many great scholars and Gaonim perished. There are also several attempts at a didactic discussion on the topic of “does the fulfillment of commandments require intention”. The primary purpose of his book was a debate with his competitor, Reb Moshe Sobel, the traditional religious Maskil. He negates the exegetical style of Sobel and his audience of boors. Naftali Weinig, who lived a life of poverty and was supported discretely by the modern Maskilim, died in the year 5650 (1890) [in fact 1886– ed.] at the age of 70 [or 56 according to death record – ed.], broken and crushed.

4) Yehoshua Atlas, who was an interesting personality among the intellectuals of Przemysl, was born in 1856 and died in Vienna in 1892. He was the scion of a family of writers. Even though he was a merchant by trade, he dedicated his free time to study, and he acquired a great deal of erudition and knowledge of languages. He wrote many lyric and philosophical poems in Hebrew and German. The topic of his poems was the annual cycle. His anthology of poems, dedicated to Moses Montefiore, include poems of appreciation for the Przemysl Maskil Jakob Ehrlich for his wide branched activities in the development and nurturing of the Hebrew Language in the city. His second book, “Hanirdaf” (“The Persecuted”), which was published in 1884, was a three-scene play about the pogroms against the Jews in Russia. The play has no artistic value, but it has a Hebrew style that is worthy of esteem.

In his literary legacy, there is also a translation of Schiller's Torandot (in Hebrew “Tirtza”). Yehoshua Atlas' intention was to prove that it was possible to translate all of the classical works of the other nations into the Biblical language. Atlas was not attracted to the currents of Maskilim of his era, including Brandesteter, Mordechai the son of Hillel HaKohen, and others. He remained faithful to traditional Hebrew, without any innovations.


[Page 170]

Birech (Berechiyahu) Schafir - Humorous poet

by D. N. Translated by Jerrold Landau

The image of the short, thin man, with long curls, a wide brimmed hat on his had, with a face that is slightly wrinkled but refined, wearing a brown, plush, linen marynarka and a tie on his neck “a la Boheme”, still stands before the eyes of my spirit. Thus was Beirach Schafir. He was indeed dressed as a European artisan, but he was nevertheless a traditional jester at Jewish weddings – Marszalek – in Przemysl after he returned to the city after his long period of wandering throughout Galicia. Everyone knows that the Marszalek is not merely a jester, but also the person who appears before the chupa (wedding canopy), often seeming like a member of the clergy, weeping with the bride and groom. He reminds them of their parents who are already in the World of Truth, and he awakens the experiences of the Jewish landscape. It is understood that this garb of the Marszalek, and of course his behavior in life, were not able to be accepted nonchalantly by everyone in whose hearts beat the memories of days gone by. This was especially not acceptable to the Marszalek Reb Eli, who was the sole jester in Przemysl and its larger area prior to the appearance of Reb Birech. Reb Eli began to defend himself and fight against his competitor. There was one word constantly on his lips: “Apikorus” (Heretic). Thereby, for the most part, he won his battles against Beirach Schafir, who was more prolific than he was with his poems. Among his compositions were poems of emotion and humor. Their content was attractive, enthusiastic and party sentimental. Their tunes, written by Reb Birech Shapir himself, were pleasant, and he knew how to express them in a clear fashion that aroused the interest of the audience.

His step-brother Elimelech Koenig also lived in Przemysl. He was an Orthodox Jew, who ran washing stalls by the Targowica on the San River for Orthodox Jews. The two brothers related to each others with hatred. B. Schafir was born, between the years of 1854-1860 [1854 - according to birth record – ed.] to a simple, poor Jew, Reb Mordechai [Marcus - according to birth record – ed.] the son of Moshe, according to the “Lexicon of Yiddish Literature, Press and Philology” of Z. Reizen[15]. His parents died while he was still a child, and therefore it is no wonder that he was force to take upon himself the difficult task of Reish Duchna (Bahelfer)[16] in a cheder in the city and later in a town at a young age. There he found good people, apparently people of knowledge, who encouraged him to study the German, Polish and French languages – certainly outside of the walls of the school. Despite everything, he had no other source of livelihood other than taking the walking stick in his hands at the age of 15, between the years 1869-1975, and becoming a wandering musician. Approximately 15 years passed in this manner. During these years he sought various forms of livelihood, including teaching in cities and towns. During the years of his wandering, he published anthologies of poems in Yiddish and German, for the most part with Hebrew translations at their side. Even though he did not write in the Hebrew of the Maskilim, Schafir demonstrated a significant mastery of literary Hebrew in his poems. Nevertheless, he did not attempt to become a Hebrew teacher when he returned to Przemysl after his wanderings, but rather sufficed himself with teaching “progressive” Jewish girls to read the prayer book (Siddur). He also taught foreign languages to girls.

Apparently, these trades did not satisfy him, for they were distant from music, jesting and especially poetry, for B. Schafir regarded himself first and foremost as a poet. All of these inclinations certainly tugged at his soul, not only for reasons of livelihood. Schafir found an additional source of livelihood in Przemysl, the kupletim [17], a form of song that was intended especially for the cabarets and nightclubs. These aroused his interest already during the days of his wandering, as is explained in the second part of the large anthology of his poetry[18].

[Page 171]

At the beginning of the 1890s, Schafir returned to his city, where the life of the coffeehouses was beginning to develop in a greater fashion than in similar cities to Przemysl. Hundreds of captains, nine generals, as well as doctors, judges and military officials, some of them with families, lived in the city. They enjoyed the life of the coffeehouses and parties of various kinds. This “family” of the officers cadre, who spoke German and were not dependent on the residents of the city, were not satisfied with the large military casino and the “messes” (private captain's hall) of the various formations. They also desired music, a jester, a kupletist, and even a composer of verses on necessary occasions (such as on the birthdays of their wives). Some of this “family” found Schafir as a provider for these services. Schafir would also certainly had let the members of this “family” know of his publications in the German Language. He would appear in the weekly gatherings of part of this “family” in the military tennis court next to “Budy” in Zasanie, where the military band played. During intermissions between the songs, he would entertain the community of captains and their wives with his creations, and he won extended applause.

It is hard to regard Beirach Schafir as a Haskalah writer, for he was far from any literary movement and from any connection with the manuscripts of the people of the Haskalah, even though he also wrote a great deal in Hebrew. Primarily, he translated his poems from Yiddish. Nevertheless, he was not considered to be a popular Yiddish writer, for he wrote in Germanic Yiddish, but deliberately with Hebrew letters. He was certainly connected to the Yiddish language, but he was embarrassed about it to some degree before his audience of readers, and would call it “mond-ort” (idiom). However, he did not even preserve this idiom to the same degree that he was concerned about proper German in his publications. Only in his latter years, when he published his final literary anthology entitled “Mighty Men of Israel or Chanukah Candles” did he realize that he had not gone along the proper path in his Germanified language, and from that time on he should write in the pure Yiddish language without any trace of German. It is a wonder why Schafir did not find this path earlier.

It is true that B. Schafir was an “actor” by profession, and most of his poems bore that character. Nevertheless, he was proud that he was a poet who also wrote poems for his own pleasure, not intended for public appearance, but on the contrary – for a conversation with himself in the privacy of his own room. Thus he wrote poems that won acclaim throughout Galicia, and that were sung by the masses, even though the name of the composer was unknown to them. They did not always excel in good taste, but at times, a tear or emotion of a true poet could be recognized in them.

Schafir was bound to Przemysl with his heart and soul, and he was proud of his origins there. (He called himself “Beirach Schafir of Przemysl” in his aforementioned publication.)

He was forced to leave Przemysl around 1906, and he never returned. He died in Krakow in 1915.

In the Lexicon, there are two versions of the story of his death. According to both of them, he was blind and forlorn during his last days. He lived in a dismal room. According to one version he lived in poverty, but he left behind a sum of money that was sufficient to arrange for a funeral and the erection of a monument. According to the other version he effectively died of hunger. His desire to be buried in Przemysl was not fulfilled. He suffered a great deal during his life, and he was not always without fault. He is bound to Przemysl not only through a great many years of his life, but also from the topic of many of his poems.

Translator's notes

  1. A shochet is a ritual slaughterer, and a bodek (checker) is someone who checks the slaughtered meat for signs that might render it non-kosher. The two roles are closely related and often rolled into one unit, known as a Sh”UB. Back

  2. The Guide of the Perplexed is Maimonides' major philosophical work, and Duties of the Heart is a medieval philosophical work written by Bachia Ibn Paquda. Back

  3. Rabbi Nachman Krochmal, a 19th century writer and philosopher. Back

  4. There is a footnote in the text here as follows: In Hamagid number 9 from April 24, 1874, there is an advertisement from the Faust bookstore in Krakow about two books: a) Or Hachaim by Rabbi Yosef Yaavets with a fine commentary by MYSh”UB; b) Bechinat Olam with a fine commentary by the aforementioned. Back

  5. Shlomo David Luzzatto. Back

  6. There is a footnote in the text here as follows: According to the article of A. Kahana, “Shimon Menachem Lazar” (editor Hamizpeh) with addenda from the memoirs of Sh. M. Lazar, “Main Events in my Life” that was published by Meoznaim, issue 15 (165), 5692 (1932). Back

  7. There must be an error with one of these dates, as the Jewish year 5622 would correspond to 1861-1862 – thus, December 1861 is part of 5622. Back

  8. A Hassidic hat. Back

  9. The two latter divisions of the Jewish Bible, which consists of the Torah, the Prophets, and the Writings. Back

  10. There is a footnote in the text here: During this era, he wrote the composition “A Torch for the Perplexed in the Ways of the Soldier”. According to Lazar in his autobiography, “I never published this important book, which offers a complete theory of the life of man and a Jew, and fundamental outlook on all life and the world, and research into accepted ideas and concepts.” Back

  11. There is a footnote in the text here: Translated from Yiddish by Y. Altbauer. Back

  12. I included the Hebrew letter that starts each line, as these form an acrostic of the name Jakob Ehrlich. Back

  13. Evidently a short form for a type of currency. Back

  14. 5625 is 1863, which must have been the year in which that donation was made. Back

  15. There is a footnote in the text here, as follows: Volume 4, pages 477-484, 1929, referred to subsequently as “the Lexicon”. Back

  16. Teaching assistant at a cheder. Back

  17. Hebrew plural from Polish kuplet. Back

  18. There is a footnote in the text here as follows: Published by Faust, Krakow, 1886. Back

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