Moshe Schulbaum: Researcher, Linguist, and Educator
by M.A. Tenenblatt
Translated by Meir Bulman
A. Causes of the New Hebrew Linguistics
In 1858, a young genius nearing age 30 resided in a remote town, Jezierzany, at the edge of Eastern Galicia, near the Russian border. As he was training in ancient and new languages, he dabbled in translating poetry and scientific literature into Hebrew. His striving for accuracy
presented obstacles in every area he attempted. He was wellversed in the Hebrew language yet it seemed to defy him or he was worn out in old age. Perhaps Hebrew was good only for flowery poetry and philosophical texts in the style of ibn Tibbon and Alharizi. Hebrew seemed strange to him when he translated new science or novels from spoken languages. His translations were beneath his developed taste and he pondered day and night but did not know which to blame, his lack of talent for conquering the language or the language's inability to adapt to material conveyed by living languages.
After long deliberation, Moshe reached a bitter conclusion, a conclusion which harmed many of the writers from the Jewish Enlightenment whose great Hebrew prose still brought joy to many in various countries. HIs conclusion was succinct:
Hebrew is a beautiful language but its scarcity degenerates it. Moshe, a beginning writer, did not make do with simply reaching that sad conclusion but approached the generation's enlightened and posed a piercing question, What can we do so our language will be like living languages? The answers he received from the enlightened folks did not appease him. As he saw himself as sufficiently credentialed among his people, he decided to devote all his interest and time toward resurrecting the Hebrew language and broadening its scope.
The conclusion and question erupted from the heart and pen of Moshe Schulbaum, the first modern Hebrew linguist towards the end of the Jewish Enlightenment. Decades later, Moshe entered his conclusion and question in the introductions to his dictionaries two expansive dictionaries published in Lviv starting in the 1880s. In the years before he wrote the dictionary and other works, he studied alone and worked with unparalleled diligence to collect Hebrew language materials from across history. He began with the Bible, Talmudic texts and commentary, poetry, philosophy, and Kabbalah. Schulbaum collected works from Israel, Babylon, France, Spain, Germany, Italy, Turkey, and Poland. He concluded his research with responsa, literature of the Haskalah, and the remnants of Hebrew in spoken Yiddish. He could be proud when he saw all of that linguistic material which he had aggregated on his own time in his collections, and dictionaries, which mostly preceded his great essays.
However, as he worked, especially on GermanHebrew translation, he faced an obstacle. All of his treasures that he had collected were insufficient to translate a regularuse German dictionary into Hebrew. He was deeply shocked and later placed [referred to that] in the introductions to his dictionaries. He told Hebrew language scholars, Compose a dictionary according to another language: German Hebrew, Russian Hebrew, English Hebrew, etc. and see what our language lacks. It is more correct
to ask, ‘What is NOT lacking?’ A lot is lacking, almost everything! For instance, he wondered how he would establish nouns and tenses for modern tools, clothes, and daily activities. Let us the residents of Israel a decade after the state was established not forget that Schulbaum spoke of the troubles of Hebrew at the beginning of the second half of the 19th century. It was before revivalists, expanders, and redeemers of Hebrew began activity in Eretz Israel and [before] the diaspora and [before] Hebrew became a language taught to infants and toddlers. At the end of that century, Ahad Ha'am wrote in his essay concerning the debate over the expansion of Hebrew that For now, our language is only half of a language. Judah Leib Gordon was the greatest of his time in his knowledge of Hebrew and he possessed the greatest senses and taste. Yet Gordon found himself struggling with [both] himself and his language, then a lacking, flowery language which prevented him from expressing ideas in a clear manner. Schulbaum wrote, The use of limited or corrupted language is indecent. One who has a palate will distance oneself [from] incoherence. Nahum Sokolow also cleverly rebuked the whisper and mutter of our meager language in those days.
Thus, Schulbaum encountered the severest spiritual crisis of his long life. The new Hebrew linguist ripened in him at that time. He began deeply probing the problems in the breeding ground [environment] of the Hebrew language through the ages. He dove deeper into its traits and qualities to discover solutions. He researched, organized, and presented to the generation's wise men a plan and method to resurrect Hebrew. Its renewal and expansion were to originate within itself and then borrow from other languages, primarily its Semitic siblings.
B. His Linguistic Methods and Rules
Schulbaum was very frugal in his use of language because
he was a stickler for grammar and followed the methods of language scholars in Spain, few of whom possessed similar knowledge. Schulbaum briefly mentioned his linguistic plan and method in the introductions to his dictionaries and in comments and short essays published in periodicals, literary collections, and newspapers. This was his method to the extent that could be found in his surviving writings.
1) The uniformity of Hebrew from Genesis to the last creation in his generation. That rule was central to Schulbaum and the generations to come. He was the first to fully sever and dispute the tradition of linguists from the previous generation according to which no uniform Hebrew exists. As our Sages said, The language of the Torah and the language of scholars are separate. and the Hebrew used in each time and place does not form one uniform language. In the introduction to his GermanHebrew dictionary, Schulbaum reiterated what he had preached decades earlier and categorically affirmed: A foreign languageHebrew dictionary is implausible without the new Hebrew taken from Talmudic and rabbinic works, inventiveness of Hebrew writers from all generations, and linguistic creativity renewed or borrowed by young powers [authorities?], either from Semitic languages or a new creation. This is the meaning of the renewal slogan advocated by Hebrew linguists, like the vision of the dry bones in Ezekiel's prophecy.
At the time, his proposed rule was simple yet novel and surprising. He himself advocated that slogan to the Hebrew linguists; the only way to revive and renew the language was a combination of all its layers combined into a single unit from Adam spoke the Holy Tongue. to the last Hebrew writers in every generation.
2) In the distant past, Aramaic served as an expander and differentiator, not necessarily due to its proximity. From a linguistic standpoint, Aramaic is a foreign brother but close neighbor. Because of historical, political, and geographical events, the influence of which was evident in the biblical period, Aramaic strengthened within the Jewish nation. In the Talmudic period and all of the Talmud's accompanying literature, Aramaic nearly fully replaced Hebrew, even in religious practice. Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi and the great scholars who followed him in Eretz Israel and some in Babylon objected to the widespread use of Aramaic and demanded the return to Hebrew when praying and even in polite conversation. In his speeches to scholars, Schulbaum highlighted the words of Rabbi Yehuda in his dispute with the other Sages, as well as the words of Rabbi Yohanan (Israel) and Rav Yehuda bar Yehezkel (Babylon).
Regarding Rabbi Yehuda, Schulbaum must have spoken of the dispute between Sages and Rabbi Yehuda on the language of prayer. Rabbi Yehuda said, ‘[The] Shema should be recited as it is written.’ and the Sages said, ‘in any language.’ (Berachot 13a). Rabbi Yohanan said, He who prays in Aramaic is not served by the angels for the angels do not recognize Aramaic. Rav Yehuda of Babylon similarly said, One should never pray in Aramaic. (Shabbat 12b). The nation did not heed those warnings and Aramaic was widely used among scholars and fully permeated the masses, especially impacted by the Babylonian yeshivot whose influence gradually spread across all the diaspora.
Throughout our long exile and linguistic twists and turns, our nation did not forget Aramaic. The weekly Torah portion is still recited by many twice in Hebrew and once in Aramaic. That fact has eased and will ease in the future [with] the import of words to expand our language, whether to add shades or invent missing shades. Rabbi Hiya and Rabbi Oshaya imported words from Aramaic to the Mishneh and the Tosefata, as did Maimonides in the Mishneh Torah and as did
Rashi before him. All [imported words from Aramaic] were adapted to a Hebrew form and our language should not be made ugly by attempts to preserve Aramaic forms. Our use of Aramaic to enrich Hebrew is limited because Aramaic was frozen [stationary?] and dead many dozens of generations ago. (Eretz Israel was the first to banish Aramaic a short while after the Jerusalem Talmud was canonized.) Thus, our language cannot and will not be built as a living language on an Aramaic foundation. (See Otzar Leshon Arami [Aramaic Language Treasure] and Schulbaum's earlier essays and comments.) Bialik similarly said 80 years later, We have no better reservoir than Aramaic to expand the Hebrew language. (HaSefer HaIvri [The Hebrew book]).
Moshe Schulbaum used the Aramaic rule in his dictionaries, transferred many words from Aramaic to Hebrew and at times assigned them a new meaning which was missing in Hebrew. Many words were accepted and included in the form he suggested in all new Hebrew dictionaries. Some preserved their Aramaic form
and meaning, although a similar item was not given a Hebrew name to this day. Yet the basis of the rule was used and still is used as a guide to the Hebrew revivalists.
3) The Arabic language is a living language and a reliable source to fill many voids in our language (from the introduction to his dictionaries). In published essays and comments, and in unpublished materials, Schulbaum discussed with scholars and writers the relationship between Hebrew and Arabic. In his opinion, both languages were rooted and spawned from the same source in the ancient past although today we cannot affirm how both languages fed one another and what [were the] ethnic and historical causes. The great flourishing of the Hebrew language, when it interacted with Arabic in the Golden Age under Islamic rule, especially in Spain and Northern Africa, was not coincidental. The great linguists and grammar enthusiasts of the time received most of their inspiration from the Arabic language and its literature at its height, precisely for that reason. Yet Schulbaum did not accept the opinions and proofs of Tanhum of Jerusalem (13th Century) and rejected a few assumptions made by Dr. Goldziher regarding that topic although he was greatly respected as that young scholar.
Schulbaum did not advocate a blood bond between Arabic and Hebrew, because they did not come out of the same womb even if we accept that one father created them.
At any rate, it is clear that great historical events, [both] political and religious, caused a partition of Arabic and Hebrew in ancient times, and one may assume that the influences of those events were more impactful than the differences between characters and cultures.
The second rule also guided Schulbaum. He appropriated Arabic words into our language as he was very knowledgeable in Classical Arabic. In his German introduction, Schulbaum admitted to borrowing accents from Arabic. During the 20th century, he saw the new linguists in Palestine, mainly BenYehuda and his contemporaries, deviate from the acceptable boundaries by importing dubious words and artificial imitations which came close to ugliness. Schulbaum warned in the introductions to his dictionaries, Hebrew will not be reconstructed by plundering the Arabs. Not all is for the taking, especially a mixture which contains foreign language. Even when he criticized, Schulbaum adhered to concise and pure language. As the Sages have said, A scholar who speaks is not to be disparaged. Schulbaum paid respects to the young scholar Dr. Klausner even when he rejected Klausner's proposal. In contrast, in their bitter dispute in Hashiloah against the revivalists in Israel especially BenYehuda and his friends, Mordechai ben Hill HaCohen and M. Balshanthey used an insult coined by Mendele Mocher Sforim: a silly language.
4) After the initial rules, the fateful question arose, What will be of our language when all that is not enough to fill the gaps it needs for modern life and using it
as a living language? Many words imported from Talmudic literature were deemed as failures because Their meaning in that language was entirely different. and there was a fear of creating confusion. Moreover, Expansion is impossible through singular words and needs general paths and entire methods. Thus, Schulbaum answered in his dictionary and proposed a guiding principal for expanding the language: We will complete our language from here and there. We just go the breeding ground [environments] of the language and do as the language breeders [? developers/creators] did: build words from other words, nouns from infinitives, infinitives from nouns, etc. Schulbaum meant, as he noted elsewhere, e.g. contributed from contribution, began from beginning. Schulbaum added that we can rely on the actions of the Sages in Talmudic literature. In Talmud, we can find constructions derived by switching individual letters and emphasis, such as: ‘ahal’ [ate] turned into ‘ikel’ [digested]; ‘ogen’ [flange] to ‘ogen’ [anchor], etc. Additionally, words were minimized in the Talmud, e.g. ‘katahn’ [small] and ‘ketantan’ [miniature]. Schulbaum noted that nouns are also minimized in the Talmud in a similar manner.
The same is true for compound nouns. Schulbaum wrote, True compound nouns are rare in our language. Some examples include: ‘makhar’ [tomorrow] compounded from ‘yom akhar’ [day after]; ‘kodesh’ [holy] from ‘yekod esh’ [fire burning]; and ‘pilegesh’ [mistress] from ‘peleg isha’ [part woman]. (Tosefta notes in many [?] places the source of the compounding of ‘keitzad’ [how] as ke'eizeh tzad [what side] M.A.Tenneblat.)
Schulbaum proposed to expand the number of verbs in Hebrew, beginning with the traces of verbs which remain in biblical sources, [those] which did not fully develop in biblical sources and need to be further developed to complete the missing prefixes in our language where existing verbs would not suffice.
5) The need for renewing words from living languages both nouns and verbs while giving them a Hebrew form and strictly preserving the linguistic integrity. That is especially important regarding nouns that were recently renewed in foreign languages.
Schulbaum followed that rule himself and served as an example for those who followed. He introduced many new words and, for the first time, gathered them in a Hebrew dictionary. He noted in his additions to the German introduction, I toiled in my composition to expand the uses of language.
Schulbaum was modest and recognized his value as a scholar and linguist, he humbly yet proudly said, He who has a better solution, I will carry his belongings to the bathhouse, a TalmudicAramaic saying which Rabbi Yohanan said many times to other Sages. Rabbi Yohanan's rules were accepted in the Talmud. Schulbaum confidently predicted that his own rules would also be accepted.
6) Preservation of aesthetic and phonetic integrity when renewing words and accents. Schulbaum demanded from the revivalists' solid reasoning for each renewal. When he saw younger linguists who supposedly followed in his footsteps yet disregarded his opinion and advice, he calmly warned [them] and established as a special rule in his introduction, Renewals are permitted but must be pretty [? Appealing] and in the spirit of the language. Every renewed word must have an acceptable and pleasant appearance. As an authority on the matter, he repeated the instruction of Voltaire, the great French writer, to those expanding French: Do not invent a word unless it meets three elements: it is necessary, understandable, and sounds pleasant. Years later, Yechiel Michel Pines, founder of the first language committee in Jerusalem, stated a similar rule, The greatest possible attribute of a new word is if it is not new. And lest Schulbaum would be suspected that envy was behind his sayings or that he was seeking to monopolize,
he excitedly addressed them: [To] all language scholars, wherever they may be, [should] continue their holy work, each in his own right and none should be jealous. Schulbaum's best solution was that This work be done by expert scholars. He called from the depths of his soul to all Hebrew wise men and writers: Make central the linguistic work and establish for it a tool for expression. Time is pressing to place brick upon brick, to give a voice to the budding language and instill heart and soul in it. That call found its first heeding in Israel in 1890, twenty years after Schulbaum's first call in Lviv, when the first Hebrew language council was founded in Jerusalem. The council was in place for one year only and returned 13 years later after repeated approaches by Schulbaum.
Like those great Jews in tumultuous times and bright horizons who counted from the time of the Temple's destruction or Jewish exile, Schulbaum noted the publication year in similar format. His latest publication, the GermanHebrew [dictionary], is dated the year 1835 of our exile.
C. Schulbaum's Work in the Eyes of Scholars of His Generation
Dr. Steinschneider usually mentioned the list of books and their content, and by the way praised the wittier or the writer's work. Steinschneider is loyal to his trade as a bibliographer and does not enter the intricacies of the creator. Nahum Sokolow also devoted a special article to Schulbaum in one of Sokolow's memorial books. Schulbaum's reputation as a Hebrew philologist preceded him, even beyond the borders of Austria and Galicia. Schulbaum participated in research and [in writing] linguistic notes in most Hebrew publications of the time. Schulbaum attracted comments and debates, and he received the praise that he deserved.
In volume 1 of Hashiloah, Joseph Klausner noted Schulbaum's work.
Moshe Schulbaum is a wise man, editor of the Ben Ze'ev's Otzar HaShorashim [‘Roots Treasure’] and author of the German Hebrew Otzar HaMilim HaKelali [general dictionary]. In the 1970s, Schulbaum attempted to renew many words in his publication, HaEt, which he published in Lviv from 1870 to 1871.
Later, in 1880 (even before the revivalist movement), Schulbaum published his second GermanHebrew dictionary in which he entered many of his better renewals. Thus, that dictionary is the better than all other Hebrew dictionaries. (Language Expanders Vol. 1. 1897)
After Schulbaum died, Joseph Klausner, editor of Hashiloah at the time, wrote,
A few months ago, we lost Moshe Schulbaum, one of the greatest Jewish scholars. It is difficult to find a brave revivalist who was also well versed in the literature of our middle ages. His style in his weekly publication HaEt was truly amazing. At that time, the early 1970s, at the height of the period of narrow Hebrew, Schulbaum renewed dozens of words. Schulbaum began publishing a new edition of Ben Ze'ev's Roots Treasure in five volumes (Lviv 18801882). The first volume was a rework of Ben Ze'ev but the remaining four volumes The Aramaic Thesaurus, The Noun Thesaurus, The General Dictionary with the Semitic Roots of the New Hebrew, and the Index of Foreign Words in Talmud and Midrash are truly new works by Schulbaum. Schulbaum's general dictionary is completely different from the previous edition as it contains hundreds of words from rabbinic literature, Kabbalah, philosophy, scientific literature, and more. I have in my possession a booklet called Bedek Habayit in which Moshe collected all of his corrections in scripture and they exceed even what the most liberated of scripture critics allowed themselves.
(Eulogy for Scholars Hashiloah vol. 35, 1918).
Reviews of Schulbaum's work were published in west Germany, France, Italy, and America. His history and works were broadly reviewed in Bibliotheca Hebraica Post Mendelsohniana by William Zeitlin.
D. Comments and Corrections about His History
Our lexicography, in its various languages, about Schulbaum's origins,
his birth year, his works, and spiritual activity contain many errors. After Schulbaum's death, Dr. B Wachstein, chief librarian of the Vienna community and a wellknown Jewish historian, noted Schulbaum's birthdate as 26 Nisan, 1828 in Jezierzany, Borszczów district, Eastern Galicia and his death date as April 4, 1918 in Vienna. In his book Hebraeische Publizistik in Wien, Dr. Wachstein noted that Schulbaum died in his nineties. Schulbaum and Wachstein were natives of neighboring towns and knew one another. In Wachstein's youth, Schulbaum had already been known by many and local enlightened folks approached him for proposals and questions. At certain points in time, Schulbaum
|Schulbaum's Death Certificate from the Vienna Community Ledgers|
served as an educator in the home of Feldszuh, an educated wealthy man who lived in the district capital. Enlightened folks from many towns attempted to bring Schulbaum to their towns. They were concerned that he needed a source of income but did not know that the dispute with his wife over his heresy was a larger factor in his expulsion from home than his financial troubles. Historian Dr. N.M. Gelber copied those [birth and death dates] from Wachstien's entry in the Vienna community ledgers.
Many years later, the Juedisches Lexikon published in Berlin reported that 1840 was Schulbaum's birth year. According to the Universal Jewish Encyclopedia, Schulbaum was born in 1833 and died in 1920. William Zeitlin also notes a mistaken date. Klausner's eulogy in Hashiloah reported Schulbaum's birth year as 1835. Writer Jacob Knaani wrote in his indepth profile of Schulbaum in Leshonenu [our language] (Va'ad HaLashon publishing, Jerusalem) that Schulbaum's birth year 1845. In a different article in the same volume, titled Language Revival during the Jewish Enlightenment which also is concerned mostly with Schulbaum, BenYehuda's predecessor and great leader Knaani noted Schulbaum's birth year as 1835. Knaani also erred when adding that in 1870 when Schulbaum relocated to Lviv from his birthtown, Schulbaum was
35 40 years old. Even Professor Klausner's great book contains mistaken or questionable facts about Schulbaum's history. Most of those works added another error when they changed Jezierzany to Brzezany, which Knaani later corrected. Yet other errors exist in every source to this day. It is strange that Jewish lexicographers and writers of historical articles did not bother at all to read Schulbaum's writings, nor did they search for his estate. (Some of Schulbaum's letters were preserved by Gershom Bader as well as in Dr. Sharon's (Shvadron) Autography [Autobiography?] Institute in the National Library on Mt. Scopus). Researchers did not view their obligation to read Schulman's obituaries in Hamicpe (Issue 31, May 10, 1918) and elsewhere.
Schulbaum was a researcher and linguist also praised by our generation's scholars and writers who have crowned him with high praise such as among the greatest Jewish scholars, among the first revivalists of the Hebrew language, prophet and guide to Samuel Joseph Fuenn and Eliezer BenYehuda, and even the first Hebrew revivalist who established a method and order, and taught how to renew Hebrew words. The disregard for Schulbaum's history does not stem only from his great humility in his lifetime but [also] from his Galician origins and the fact he published most of his work in that country during a time of spiritual stagnation. After the death of the great carriers of the mantles of Jewish enlightenment, Reuben Asher Braudes remained the sole star shining in the skies of Galicia but he was a Lithuanian, not only by origin but also by education, spirit, and appearances. Thus, Schulbaum remained alone in Galicia and decades passed before his wisdom and work became known beyond its borders. As Dr. Klausner noted in his obituary of Schulbaum, That poor scholar was forgotten during his lifetime because he did not know how to incite a ruckus. Instead, he purely and humbly worked in the privacy of his home. However, his contribution to
the reawakening Hebrew language in its more difficult days will never be forgotten. (Hashiloah, vol. 35).
The disregard for Schulbaum's life story reached such an extent that the names of his parents are not mentioned anywhere. His mother's lineage was occasionally mentioned, noting that she was descendent of Rabbi Tzvi Ashkenazi, known as the Chacham Tzvi. This also raised questions regarding historians researching European Jewry; they usually dig through every familial detail yet in this case were not interested in researching how the greatgranddaughter of Rabbi Ashkenazi of Holland arrived in Galicia. In Galicia, she became Moshe Schulbaum's mother, thus returning scholarly greatness to her family though in a different field. Such research surely was possible even in those days, as it is wellknown that the Chacham Tzvi was ABD of Lviv towards the end of his life, [that is] where he passed away in the spring of 1718, and it is known that some of his family settled in Galicia.
Interestingly, many linguistic innovations exist in Rabbi Tzvi Ashkenazi's responsa and his letters detailing his escape from Germany and the years he wandered. Such innovations are also present in the writings of Rabbi Tzvi's son, Rabbi Yaakov Emdin.
Additionally, authors of Schulbaum's biographies made do with writing that he was an autodidact [selftaught person], although the intention likely was to praise him. It was quite difficult to find a professional linguist at Schulbaum's level who had neither completed secondary education nor studied in universities. However, writers did not express interest in the important question of how and from whom a Torah scholar from a small remote town had acquired knowledge in many languages, both new and ancient, and how he had acquired a scientific understanding in the cultural treasures of each language. Indeed, no facts dispute the notion that he taught himself Greek, Roman, Aramaic, Arabic, Assyrian, German, French, and Italian in a town whose Jewish population, at the time, did not reach 2000.
Schulbaum acquired wisdom and knowledge in his parents' home and at the libraries he found in the synagogue. That testifies [to the fact] that, even in that remote town, there were ample books and many educated folks. Schulbaum was able to acquire such deep knowledge, still praised by contemporary scholars. For instance, Professor Klausner called Schulbaum, a wonderful grammatist and expander of the language.
E. Schulbaum's Origins, Family, and Education
I recall these details from my childhood: Moshe's father was Yeshayahu Schulbaum and his mother's name was Devorah (Gikkel, Gittel or Glikkel?). Gikkel was a member of an Ashkenazi family who were owners of fabric stores, renters of fields, and money exchangers. In his childhood, Moshe's family was established financially but was bankrupted by a town fire. They were known as a great family, educated scholars of Torah, and lovers of philosophy and grammar who read German books in secret.
Other young people like Schulbaum lived in the town, for example, Aaron Blumenfeld. Aaron was a genius whose history is being compiled by historian Dr. Gelber. Aaron was much younger than Schulbaum and was among his first pupils. Like Moshe, Aharon was a lover of linguistics and attended the study house. After his enlistment in the Austrian army following an error by the community leaders, Aharon was smuggled to Romania where he supported himself by teaching Talmud and Bible. Aharon also studied languages and later trained at Leipzig University, aided by a Jewish donor. He returned to Romania under the name of Dr. Roman Ronati. (See an essay dedicated to him in this section of the book.) Within a short time, Aharon was famous as a great Romanian scholar and became a leader of the revivalists of the Romanian language. Aaron was elected secretary of the Romanian Governmental Academy for Sciences and Literature. (See Jewish Chronicle, 1910)
Schulbaum, too, required the aid of benefactors but received no such aid and instead sustained his scholarliness in poverty. He acquired any knowledge and science that he desired in his home and his town. In accordance
with his familial lineage and his national and moral tendencies, he decided to first serve his nation and the literature of his language, and dedicated himself to the revival of Hebrew. As customary in his family, Schulbaum was welleducated in Torah and other studies. When he grew up, he left the study house and studied in his father's home and his own home. He diligently read scientific and general literature and by then began to excel in language acquisition, especially languages of the ancient world mentioned in Talmudic literature and by the scholars of Spain. As he approached age 30, he was famed in the region as a great scholar, researcher, and linguist, and wellversed in languages. He was primarily attracted to Semitic linguistics and his first goal was to revive and expand the Hebrew language. Since then, Schulbaum devoted his life to service as a writer, researcher, educator, and translator. He approached translating classic German and Greek literature in order to prove to himself and others the possibility of reviving the language and molding it to the spirit of the time. According to testimony I heard 50 years ago, one of his uncompleted stories, The Mysteries of Rome was his first written work, even before his translations of Schiller. The Mysteries of Rome is an adaption of an Italian or Roman work which Schulbaum peppered with many linguistic innovations.
The lexicography almost completely bypassed his private and family life. Only Y. Knaani mentioned Schulbaum's first marriage. Schulbaum's first wife was a religious fundamentalist and bothered the young scholar in his scientific work to the point he had to divorce her after few years of suffering. Knaani could not say if Schulbaum had children from his first marriage
or children from his second and third wives. In his memoir published in the ZionistPolish daily Chwila after WWI, Professor Meir Balaban wrote about the Haskalah movement during his time in Lviv, that Schulbaum's son was of much help to his father as he wrote his great dictionary. We also learn from that [reference] that Moshe's son was also a great scholar who followed in the footsteps of his father. In Lviv, Professor Balaban knew the daughter of Moshe Schulbaum who was a school teacher. Moshe's sons from his first marriage, Reuven and David, completed law studies in Lviv and died shortly thereafter of povertyinduced tuberculosis. Reuven was the oldest and was poised to be his father's successor because of his wide knowledge of Hebrew and his training in Semitics. The poor father mourned them for his whole life, for good reason. In the first year of mourning, he climbed the Wysocki Zamek in Lviv where he tore his clothes and shouted bitterly at the sky. For years, Moshe refused to be consoled.
After Schulbaum and his second wife had a boy, his spirit gradually began returning and he became calmer and slowly returned to his scientific work. However, that son disappointed his father from a national perspective. Schulbaum began to work and sought a living for him and his family, because the verse, yet bread to the wise was applied to him in the cruelest sense. The conditions resulted in the son being educated against his family tradition; early on he left for Vienna, eventually left the community and married a Christian woman in a civil marriage. Although the son did not convert, Moshe severed ties with his son and refused to see him, as though he never existed. Shortly thereafter, Moshe's second wife died. As Moshe approached old age, he married a third woman, Malka (Emalia), a young, wealthy, educated woman who knew Schulbaum's value and his great past. She bore him a daughter and supported him in his old age with remarkable devotion and admiration. Schulbaum was very elderly, 88 years old, when he relocated to Vienna. He was hard of hearing and his sight damaged, and he was exhausted and slim because of his troubles in Ternopil under Russian occupation. He remained alert and sensitive to all that occurred in our world and was especially interested in
worldly events on the political horizon [that were] projecting the fate and future of Eretz Israel.
F. Schulbaum's First Published Works
Moshe Schulbaum resided and maintained his wisdom in Jezierzany, his birth town. Until 1870, Schulbaum had not left the town except for short visits to writers and wise men in neighboring towns or for income. He maintained correspondence with wise men and writers in distant towns as well. In 1863, at age 32, his first translations of Friedrich Schiller's poems (which he had prepared long beforehand) were published in Kohvei Yitzchak [Stars of Isaac], a respected periodical. His translation of Der Pilgrim was published in issue 25 and his translations of Berglied and Der Jüngling am Bache, all poems by Schiller, appeared in later issues of Kohvei Yitzchak. According to bibliographers and historians, some of Schulbaum's work was published in Hamevaser at the same time but they have not mentioned the content or form, or whether those were scientific works, fiction, or poetry. (I am skeptical any issues of Hamevaser were preserved in some library in the old world after the destruction of Austrian Jewry and its historical treasures.) Those translations excel in simple language, and smooth and beautiful rhyming, and are pleasing to read to this day. In A History of the New Hebrew Literature, Professor Klausner stated that Many of Schulbaum's works and his translations remain relevant. Schulbaum's style in those translated poems reminds us of the quality of Hebrew poetry in Italy from Ramhal onward, as well as Yitzhak Salkinsohn in his translations of Shakespeare's plays. In his beautiful article in Leshoneinu, Knaani quoted some passages of Schulbaum's translations. Knaani notes the simplicity, beauty, and rhymeflow in Schulbaum's translated poems. Dr. N. M. Gelber dedicated a substantial section to Schulbaum's work in A History of Lviv Jewry, A History of Kolomia Jewry, and A History of Ternopil Jewry, Yizkor books of those towns, some of which were published recently and others which are still being printed.
The foundations of Schulbaum's work were set in place in his birth town. Schulbaum began preparing and editing his research and linguistic collections while still in Jezierzany. As stated, Schulbaum's motivation was a recognition of the limitations of Hebrew to express
daily matters. Professor Klausner stated, Schulbaum preceded Samuel Joseph Fuenn and BenYehuda in gathering postbiblical Hebrew words. Among them are considered the Noun Thesaurus, The General Thesaurus and The Aramaic Thesaurus which Schulbaum saw at first as appendixes to BenZe'ev's Semitic Roots Thesaurus. Schulbaum began composing his longform dictionaries in Jezierzany and they were published in dizzying speed, even in current terms, 10 years after he relocated to Lviv. In Lviv, Schulbaum continued to improve and polish his works in the manner he maintained since the day he formed his outlook.
Shmuel Yosef Agnon described the popularity of Schulbaum's dictionaries among members of the Jewish Enlightenment. Agnon did so in With Our Young and With Our Old, and A Simple Story in which he describes the Galician way of life. Schulbaum's humility and his scientific modesty prevented him from publishing research under his own name. Schulbaum invested a great portion of his scientific work in expanding Ben Ze'ev's work, both by polishing and adding new materials. Professor Klausner is correct in his observation that Ben Ze'ev's new edition of the Roots thesaurus did not bring any fame to Schulbaum, unlike the previous editions whose editors achieved some fame. Schulbaum was persuaded by the opinions and advice from wise men in his social circle [and their assertion] that Ben Ze'ev's material could no longer be woven into the new material and new work should be separated. Only then did Schulbaum begin editing the last draft of his linguistic compositions, and begin
preparing them for publication as full books, under his name.
G. Schulbaum's Place in the New Hebrew Linguistics
To this day, linguists attribute significant value to Schulbaum's work which paved new roads for the development of Hebrew and its grammar. In his first pamphlet, Hebrew: A Living Language, Dr. Klausner praised Schulbaum's contribution as an expander of the language which Klausner repeated at every opportunity. We found the same contention in his essay in Hashiloah Vol. 1, the obituary in vol. 35, and in his extensive book, A History of the New Hebrew Literature. The elder grammatist Avraham Avrunin often relied on Schulbaum's work. In his essay series Language and Grammar in Bialik's Poetry in Leshoneinu, Avrunin disagreed with Bialik and proposed corrections in new editions. Avrunin presented evidence from Schulbaum's theory as an authoritative source against his favorite poet. Shaul Tchernichovsky also
relied on Schulbaum's linguistic assertions and used them (see note 1 to Tchernichovsky's poem On Blood (Crown of Sonnets)). Professor Rivlin, a scholar from Jerusalem, provided a nice simile when he told me, Schulbaum was like your own Samuel David Luzzatto, and Luzzatto's EasternEuropean successor. A different Jerusalem scholar, linguist Hanoch Yelon, briefly commented,Only a peek is needed into his writings and dictionaries to demonstrate that that linguist was a scholar with remarkable taste. A young linguist from Jerusalem remarked that Schulbaum gathered in his works approximately 50,000 Hebrew words, a generational record of gathering the language's assets.
Other linguists have emphasized Schulbaum's solid logic, originality of linguistic methods and concise language in comments on the Bible and Talmud. One linguist has told me, If you search, you will find multiple [instances of] ingeniousness which open windows to refreshing and expanding the language. The expansion of the language would progress much more if we abided by Schulbaum's suggestions, which sometimes he only hinted at. Another linguist reminded me of Schulbaum's hints at the need for new conjugations, including hovin, hokim, hoshiv [to seat], and hovir [from Morfix.co.il: (Talmudic) to leave uncultivated land], guided by Mishnah, Talmud, and other works. The linguist continued,
Almost to this day, Schulbaum's hints went unnoticed despite their importance. An added conjugation pattern would have expanded and enriched the language, both in its own right and as a replacement to the prefix that is absent from Hebrew. The recent linguistic trend against ‘loose conjugations’ and the push for ‘complete’ ones is insufficient to change the fact that it is possible to add another verbal stem, hof'il, which is present in the Talmudic tradition.
The positive response to Schulbaum's work at the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century seemed [to occur] simultaneously along with the appearance of dictionaries by Samuel Joseph Fuenn & BenYehuda, Grazovskiy & Klausner, and Dr. Torczyner. In 1918, Dr. Klausner noted (Ish Ivri pseudonym, Hashiloah, Vol. 35), Even now, after the publication of Dr. Margel's GermanHebrew dictionary, Avraham Kahana's RussianHebrew dictionary, and BenYehuda & Grazovskiy's RussianGermanHebrew dictionary, Schulbaum's second edition of his GermanHebrew dictionary retains its value and at the time was truly one of a kind. However, life and the quick development of Hebrew after World War I as a spoken language tipped the scales against Schulbaum. Thousands of copies of that dictionary rolled [?] unwanted through the streets of Lviv. Dr. Yisrael Mintzer, a Zionist activist in Lviv who had left his role as a lawyer to become a publisher and bookseller, purchased the large leftover quantities of the edition. Dr. Mintzer purchased the excess copies to distribute to thousands of Jewish former officers and soldiers from the suddenly disbanded Austrian military. Max Nordau proposed a plan according to which Jewish soldiers would make mass aliyah. Dr. Mintzer failed miserably as did the plan for en masse aliyahs. Few young folks, mostly budding researchers and Hebrew historians, bought the dictionaries at a steep discount. The youth studied Hebrew in Hebrew and those who wanted to make aliyah found new textbooks
that were concise and condensed to a few hundred words and would suffice for their first encounter with Eretz Israel. Thus, old Schulbaum was forgotten and his books nearly forgotten.
However, this generation saw an awakened need to search through Schulbaum's legacy, return important values from his work to Hebrew linguistics and integrate them into the ongoing development of the language. Yaakov Knaani's two research articles were timely and did justice towards the forgotten wise man by rescuing terms from Schulbaum's work that were forgotten and also crediting words already integrated into Hebrew. Faithfully and lovingly, Knaani conducted extensive research yet, in a manner of critique and honesty, he dove into a large pool of works across many countries. Because Knaani did so before the Holocaust which destroyed Jewish communities including their institutions and intellectual treasures all over Europe, he was able to draw on books and copy from periodicals and pamphlets, the majority of which were extinct along with the developing nation.
As Mr. Knaani carefully read Schulbaum's work and the linguistic sources from that period, Knaani recognized that Schulbaum's work was a worthy addition to the revival of our language which has made significant leaps since then. Knaani recognized that Schulbaum's name, his inventions and accomplishments will not be forgotten. Moreover, we still have much to learn from Schulbaum as we expand the language. For some reason, Knaani did not expand upon Schulbaum's method and rules, the importance of which, Knaani maintains, remains today. Instead, Knaani made do with emphasizing Schulbaum's linguistic theory and his use of it. Knaani also mentioned, in a general sense, Schulbaum's advice to the language scholars who will follow him. Schulbaum advised on how to renew and expand, what should be closer and what farther, and the gentle nature of the work so that words get absorbed into the language without losing its soul. Knaani also mentioned Schulbaum's primacy in that task and highlighted that not only BenYehuda but all of the revivalists in our generation follow Schulbaum, for he paved the path for those after him. Knaani quoted several words renewed by Schulbaum, as Knaani saw the need to give credit where it was due. Knaani mentioned, as an example, several words that Schulbaum renewed and which were accepted and absorbed within our new language, without our knowing
who created them or whether later revivalists counted Schulbaum's inventions as their own. Schulbaum's primacy was also pointed out by Professor Klausner in his book The Founders of the State of Israel.
H. LifeStations and Creation
Schulbaum's primary creative locales were Jezierzany and Lviv. In his later stops, Kolomia, Mikolinitzi, and Ternopil, it seems as if Schulbaum exchanged his linguistic work for different creative outlets. In the second period [of his life?], Schulbaum was focused mainly on reviving the language and national values as an educator and educational planner. After his difficult work as an educator, Schulbaum devoted much time to biblical research. Schulbaum busied himself not only with biblical criticism and examination of unclear passages, [but also with] differing versions of the Mishnah and commentary in the Talmud. Schulbaum contributed short essays to Hamagid and Sifrei Sha'ashuim, edited by his young friend Isaac Fernhof (other scholars from Odessa also contributed essays and poetry), and to Hamicpe of Krakow. In a booklet called Ohr Hadash, Schulbaum gathered some of his biblical commentaries which he designated as freeform explanations.
In his old age, Schulbaum returned once more to writing essays concerning the revival of the language. In 1904, Schulbaum published in Hamicpe an extensive essay on the revival of our language in which he summarized his opinions on Hebrew linguistics, proposed to linguists to settle disputed matters, and expressed his confidence that soon a high institution will be established and recognized by the nation as an authority on the revival of the language. (In his introduction to his dictionaries, he called it a court for language development.) In 1912, Schulbaum sent his final essay to Hashiloah. To this day, it is unknown whether the final essay contained linguistic matters or whether it was the same essay that Dr. Klausner mentioned in his eulogy, which was all corrections to the scriptures. The editor of Hashiloah,
Dr. Klausner, did not publish the manuscript for reasons he kept to himself. According to one theory, Schulbaum forgot to sign the letter although the handwriting was similar to other letters he wrote to Hashiloah. The apparent reason was that, according to Hashiloah's policy, even people with Jewish convictions could not publish corrections to scripture as that exceeds what even what the most liberal among biblical critics allowed themselves. The manuscript is preserved in Professor Klausner's archive in Jerusalem and perhaps he will reveal the true reason in his upcoming memoirs. Schulbaum was disappointed and expressed his disappointment several times in his conversations with Meir Khartiner in Ternopil. Schulbaum often said, Herren Klausner gefallen meine sachen nicht (Mr. Klausner does not like my material.)
As Schulbaum resided in Mikolinitzi (18971913), while detached from a company of writers and scholars, he reedited his Aramaic Thesaurus published in Lviv. Some advertisement with the author's address appeared in Hamagid when the book was published. Some short writings of Schulbaum appeared in Hamagid at the time. In the same newspaper, Schulbaum debated S.M. Lazar about explanations of the Bible and the Talmud.
As Schulbaum was lonely in that town, he first began to envy the Odessa scholars who had not included him in their literary platforms and did not approach him to send them his writings. He did not envy Dr. Ehrenpreis and Dr. Ton [?] because Schulbaum did not desire the publicity crown. However, Schulbaum did want to interact with S. Bernfeld and David Neumark. Schulbaum saw himself as a Hebrew writer because he published only in Hebrew. In the same town, Schulbaum published a collection of SyrianSumerian elements in Hebrew and Arabic.
Schulbaum lived in Kolomia from 1887 1897. In 1888, he published essays and short comments in the weekly publication Hashemsh [The Sun], the first editor of which was Reuben Asher Braudes. Here, too, most of the topics concerned language, problems in scripture, and Jewish wisdom.
I. Schulbaum's Work and its Publication in Lviv
When he moved from Jezierzany in 1870, after his creative spirit overcame him and his desk drawers were filled with manuscripts, he chose Lviv as the center of enlightenment in Galicia.
Schulbaum's mind was full of humanities, languages, energy and the drive to deepen his research and publish his works. By his nature, he at first distanced himself from criticism and would say that his true power was in his building [construction?] tools. The enlightened folks of Lviv soon noticed his qualities as a scholar and all attempted to ease his acclimation to the city. Michael Wolf, a publisher and educator, made him a proofreader in Wolf's printing house and assured Schulbaum a decent income. Dr. Klausner, in his obituary in Hashiloah, said, Schulbaum, of course, was not a simple proofreader in that printing house but ensured that our sages' books would be repaired. Since then, Schulbaum was available for new creations, editing his manuscripts, publishing and editing a weekly paper, and for extensive intellectual advocacy, especially towards renewing the language and its literature.
In 1871, a Hebrew weekly periodical HaEt/ Kol HaEt, (given alternate names every week for licensing purposes [?]), was edited by Schulbaum and published by Hebrew Language Advocates Company which was established at Schulbaum's initiative. Every week, a supplement was added to the periodical named Ruach HaEt which was devoted to poems, prose, biblical research, etc. The editor declared the aim of his paper to raise the profile of the Holy Language and to report all that happens in the country Schulbaum's voice as a revivalist echoed through that declaration.
A year earlier, a few weeks after his move to Lviv, he founded the Hebrew Language Union with the stated mission, Passion for the Hebrew Language and its Revival because Hebrew is the most stable asset of the Jewish people. Many years before Simon Dubnow, Schulbaum preached cultural and educational autonomy for his people in Galicia. Starting in 1871, Schulbaum demanded through his paper and at gatherings, the establishment of generalJewish schools for all Jewish youth where they will study Hebrew, Bible, and Talmud and their obligations as Jews and humans.
The humble and moderate researcher became a warriorwriter, not only for ‘enlightenment from the heavens,’ but also a humanistic Hebrew education and nourishment of national values.
During those same years, Schulbaum reedited several stories he had written in his birth town (including The Rabbi Who Consulted the King and Mysteries of Rome) and he serialized them in his paper. The stories were also packed with wonderful linguistic inventions, embedded and offhanded in his clear style. Publication of the stories ceased when his paper folded after two years. The stories were never completed although, as Knaani noted, Readers and writers praised him in every issue. Schulbaum himself likely did not see the stories' importance during his more recent active period because he focused mainly on linguistic research, translations of German poetry and Greek philosophy, and editing a new edition of
|New Edition Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics
by Moshe Schulbaum Annotated, Lviv, 5637.
Cover of Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics translated by
M. Schulbaum (according to a faded photograph)
Ben Ze'ev's works.
During his fourteen years of residence in Lviv, in addition to his journalistic work, he published the following books:
The problems concerning Jewish education increasingly occupied Schulbaum's mind. Because he wanted to do and not just talk, he studied pedagogical literature and approached developing his own educational plan as he had contemplated upon his arrival in Lviv. A dispute between Schulbaum and his friend and income provider, Michael Wolf, intensified and caused interruptions in Schulbaum's income. As Schulbaum proofread books, he would propose new words to the publishers and authors. Schulbaum invented a Hebrew term for novel, mivdeh, and wanted to adopt it for the covers of novels printed by Wolf. Schulbaum's corrections likely concerned also the works of Reuben Asher Braudes, which angered both Braudes and Wolf. That conflict caused tension in Schulbaum's relationship with the publisher, to the point of
separation after some time. Schulbaum suddenly remained without significant income, although his books at the time were considered widely circulated. The first edition of the dictionary sold out within a few years. Not only maskilim purchased it to expand their skills, but young men leaning towards Haskalah also purchased to study German. The dictionary was a door to German poetry and enabled them to learn to read works by Lessing, Schiller, Goethe, and Heine in their original language or prepare [them] for entrance exams for German secondary education. A similar use was adopted for Moses Mendelssohn's German translation of the Bible in the previous generation, the readers of which were more interested in the German translation than the accompanying Hebrew commentary.
Schulbaum invested [money] himself and invested most of the money from his son from his second wife, who wanted his money returned. Schulbaum's income became scarce. As Schulbaum prepared his Hebrew educational plan, he began preparing to teach in his first Hebrew school which his friends and admirers promised to help found. The endeavor immediately failed as all efforts to obtain such a license as an autodidact failed.
J. Schulbaum as an Educator and Hebrew Education Planner
At the time, the first Jewish schools funded by Baron Hirsch were opened in Galicia. Schulbaum's friends convinced him to open such a school in Kołomia, a town of writers and scholars, where he could establish the school he had preached for [advocated for] during his time in Lviv. Thus, in 1887, Schulbaum relocated to Kolomia and served as principal for a decade. The maskilim and Hebrew writers of Kolomia welcomed Schulbaum with open arms. He would lecture on history, literature and linguistics. Schulbaum's influence on the Jewish intelligentsia and the Hebrew groups in the town and its surroundings increased. Schulbaum's first request was assistance with founding the Hebrew educational fund and encouraging the Hebrew curriculum in the other schools. Writers and other enlightened folks, including David Yeshayahu Zilberbush, Gershom Bader, and Michael Zeidman, heeded Schulbaum's call. However, the school fund and administration were led by assimilators who appointed themselves chief speakers even on issues of
education and language, and from the start they frowned upon Schulbaum's plans. When the assimilators saw the organization surrounding Schulbaum and the public opinion leaning towards his goals, they switched to open and vigorous opposition. Some important changes occurred within the school because many teachers gladly accepted Schulbaum's influence and improved lessons accordingly. However, Schulbaum's desire for fundamental reform remained. A long and hard conflict between Schulbaum's loyalists and the assimilators ensued.
The public pressure intensified in 1894. That year, a national teachers' conference convened in Stanisławów where Schulbaum's proposals were raised as an official item on the agenda. Dr. Meir Weissberg, a writer and teacher, joined Schulbaum's requests and they coprepared an extensive plan to expand Hebrew education. A designated committee of Hebrew teachers deliberated the issue and drafted a plan for Hebrew studies both in language instruction and Bible instruction. The plan was accepted, much to the disappointment of the assimilators' leaders. Since then, the assimilators began to publicly scorn Schulbaum. In the winter of 1897, during the school year, they exiled Schulbaum from Kolomia and transferred him to a school in the small town of Mikolinitzi. Schulbaum was close to 70 years old then. Their aim was to isolate him from writers and Hebrew advocates, and to separate him from the Zionists they so loathed. Zionists began appearing in increasing numbers in Galicia's large towns following the stardom of Political Zionism and its founder Theodor Herzl. Schulbaum happily declared in the Hebrew introduction to his dictionary, God has bestowed a blessing upon the land. A heavenly wind began blowing and its name is Zionism.
During the first years of Schulbaum's residence in Mikolinitzki, the new Hebrew literature from Russia began in full force, along with its accompanying streams from young Galicia [?] spilling over to Odessa. In 1905, a heavy tide of JewishRussian refugees and immigrants poured into Galicia and Bukovina. Most of the refugees were young educated Jews who spoke modern Hebrew. Some of them acclimated to Galicia and began disseminating modern Hebrew as tutors, and course and schoolfounders for Jewish youth. Within a few years, a momentum formed around a widening Hebrew movement which overtook most of the town in Galicia and Bukovina. The movement even reached the few Jewish families who lived in villages.
The method of Hebrew in Hebrew, according to a method developed by Berlitz for different living languages, made significate gains as teachers and students were enthused, thus pushing out all dual language Hebrew dictionaries. As a result, the new edition of Schulbaum's dictionaries became unnecessary among the studying youth. Schulbaum himself did not regret the obsoleteness of his dictionaries because he saw with his own eyes that his wishes and life's work were achieving their purpose. Schulbaum heard the Sephardicpronounced Hebrew from young and old folks, and he noticed new and renewed words from his work and according to it. He read every book and booklet in Hebrew from Eretz Israel and Russia, and found his own linguistic influence in them. Thus, Schulbaum was content with his lot as one of the founders and sources of the new Hebrew literature and the reviving language. In his old age, he gathered his strength and would devote the remainder of his life to editing his work on the Bible and Mishnah. With his revitalized strength, he would gift his nation new and bold materials.
The beginning of the decade preceding World War I was a lively time, ripe for intellectual creation in Europe. Biblical criticism flourished, especially in Germany, and brought with it new revelations on the Mishnah and Jewish history. Each year, new centers for Jewish wisdom were founded in Vienna, Austria; Budapest, Hungary; and Florence, Italy. Eretz Israel also awakened and competed in various creative fields. A scientific Hebrew commentary on the Bible was published and many old and young Jewish wise men from many countries contributed. Schulbaum, too, joined in those efforts and wished to demonstrate strength in those fields. Envy was not Schulbaum's motivator. Rather, he was confident in his ability to share his accrued research materials and wanted to give to his people.
I had heard of Schulbaum's plan from mutual acquaintances who visited Schulbaum in Mikolinitzi and found him immersed in research and writing. During my tenure as secretary of the Teacher's Union of Galicia and Bukovina, and
at times as inspector of yearend examinations at the Teacher's Seminary founded by Shlomo Schiller, I was sent to Ternopil for the commencement ceremony where I had the honor of engaging in a short conversation with Schulbaum. Our mutual friends, including wealthy, educated folks who admired the elderly scholar, told me that Schulbaum was still strong and invigorated. His average stature had stooped only somewhat and the afflictions of old age had nearly bypassed him. Schulbaum was certain that he could easily find a publisher for his new books and requested only assistance to relocate to Vienna or at least return to Lviv with a small pension because, at his age, it was difficult to handle publication, including proofreading and printing, from a remote corner [place].
K. In Ternopil during His Last Days
Only in 1913/14, when Schulbaum was 84 years old did the leaders of the Baron Hirsch Fund transfer him to Ternopil with a partial pension as a parttime inspector of the Hebrew teachers from their EasternGalician schools. Before long, the war had begun and the scholar, in his old age, exhausted and alone, was forced to acclimate to conditions under Cossack occupation; they ruled Ternopil until July 1917. Schulbaum had sent his wife and daughter to Vienna but he was unable to follow them. He remained trapped in Ternopil, alone and detached from his family for most of the war. Luckily for Schulbaum, author Meir Khartiner was also trapped in Ternopil at the same time. Meir's sister lived in the same building where Schulbaum resided. When Meir told his sister who her neighbor was, she helped him as much as possible in those days by supplying food and drink. Even during his advanced old age, burdened by Russian occupation, Schulbaum diligently read and wrote for about 20 [?] hours each day. Most of his work was comprised of editing and adding to a thick manuscript in which he gathered his work on explanations and corrections to the bible, and explanation of Talmudic literature
and Midrashim. His known booklet Ohr Hadash and Bedek Habayit (which was rejected for publication by Hashiloah) served as a starting point and example for a lengthy composition or two compositions on different topics. Meir Khartiner saw him many times adding to or editing that extensive manuscript, and it was evident Schulbaum regarded it as uberimportant although he did not reveal its content. Evidently, Schulbaum was unable to find a reputable publisher as he was previously certain he could, [either] because he had been in exile in Mikolinitzi or because he was so bitterly disappointed by Hashiloah, causing him to postpone publishing to a more convenient time but the war had erupted in the meantime. His persistence in writing and editing testified [to the fact] that he had not given up on publishing his new work.
Schulbaum's expansive library included many linguistical works and other general wisdom. Schulbaum's health and wealth suffered under occupation so he could not afford to transport it to Vienna where he had relocated after the Russian retreat. Thus, the library remained in Ternopil. Many times, Schulbaum offered the library as a gift to Meir Khartiner as he hinted by telling of his two sons who had died young and the living son who strayed from his father's path. Khartiner refused to accept such a large gift which included books of high value because Khartiner saw it as the old writer's last source of support. Khartiner purchased a few books from Schulman, including a GermanArabic dictionary. That large and valuable collection was plundered and destroyed, first by the retreating Cossacks and later by Ukrainian militants as they took over Ternopil and confiscated the building for military purposes. A large part of the collection served as kindling material for Ukrainian soldiers for heat and for other needs. To this day it is unknown whether Schulbaum took with him to Vienna his manuscript in progress or
whether that manuscript was destroyed alongside his book collection.
Meir Khartiner frequently visited Schulbaum and they discussed and debated commentary on scripture and the impact of tradition. At times, Khartiner did not accept Schulbaum's proposed corrections of scripture and attempted to convince him that the scripture at hand was inconsistent only due to errors of copiers [scribes]. Moreover, Khartiner argued that inconsistencies are remedied without corrections or erasures, by expanding upon the rule There is no strict chronology in the Torah [Pesachim 6b], and applying it also to individual verses. Our predecessors also knew about implicit scripture and Rabbi David Kimhi even dared to state in his commentary on Ne'vim that Qere and Ketiv [read as and write as, notes included in editions of the Hebrew Bible, maintained by scribal tradition] originated in corrupted books which returned to Israel from Babel. Schulbaum carefully listened to each note and the ones he liked he included in pages of the manuscript for additional deliberation. The conversations took place in German because Schulbaum dismissed Yiddish and would repeat a recited modified mantra coined by Judah haNasi, Why speak the Sursi language? Speak either German or Hebrew. Unlike Judah haNasi, Schulbaum's speaking of the living Hebrew language was somewhat broken, especially in the Sephardic pronunciation when contrasted with Schulbaum's fluency in German. In one of the conversations, Schulbaum unexpectedly asked Khartiner, Herr Chartiner, wie stehen Sie mit Gott? (Mr. Khartiner, what is your stance on God?) when Khartiner replied in apparent philosophical simplicity, Ganz einfach, Herr Schulbaum, was ich nicht wissen, nenne ich Gott. (Very simple, Mr. Schulbaum; what I do not know I call God.) Schulbaum thought for a while and ended the conversation by remarking, eigentlich ein geistreicher gedanke (actually a witty thought.) Apparently, the God question returned to occupy Schulbaum's mind in his final days. Schulbaum's short answer does not provide insight into Schulbaum's questioning soul, whether Khartiner's answer pacified him or not.
In those days too, Schulbaum was indifferent towards religion and faith. He did not publicly disparage religion although he was loyal to the Maskilim's mockery of Hassidism and Hassidic rebbes. Schulbaum spoke ill of the Hassidim at every opportunity. Schulbaum reserved his sharpest daggers for the leader of the Vizhnitz dynasty (Mendel Vizhnitzer as Schulbaum dubbed him), and did not hesitate to accuse Rabbi Mendel of adultery, based on testimony of former dynasty employees. Schulbaum's stance on religion was expressed also in his opposition to the worship of the dead, and, to stay consistent, he avoided visiting the gravesites of his ancestors and instead gave to charity in their honor.
Schulbaum did not visit Jezierzany for several years after the town rabbi, Mordechai Zeidman, instructed [people ?] to burn Schulbaum's books, including the dictionaries, because the books caused the youth to stray from the righteous path. However, when Schulbaum resided in Kołomia and Mikolinitzi, he returned to Jezierzany and took special interest in maskilim who had arisen in his absence. During his few visits to Jezierzany, Schulbaum was hosted by Moshe Gold or his cousin and secretly left after a day or two, likely because of the religious fundamentalists who had loathed him since his youth. A few maskilim from Jezierzany (Yehuda Cohen and Nissan and Aharon Nissenbaum who had relocated to the Kołomia and Chernivtsi area) periodically visited Schulbaum during his time in Kolomia. When Schulbaum lived in Mikolinitzi, Moshe Gold and BenTzion Shifman visited him.
Even while Schulbaum resided in Russianoccupied Ternopil, Moshe Gold visited him. Gold introduced him to S. Ansky and Dr. P. Lander, who led the JewishRussian rescue committee's charity efforts in Galicia. Dr. Lander was a military doctor from Kiev who died in Israel a few years ago. Dr. Lander told me that, during his visits to the Tagblatt, S. Ansky visited Schulbaum's home in Ternopil numerous times and was very interested in Schulbaum's scientific work. Ansky was especially interested in Schulbaum's Hebrew words and idioms that Schulbaum had gathered from Yiddish and included in his dictionaries. Schulbaum's and Ansky's conversations were sluggish because
Ansky was not fond of Schulbaum's German and they switched to broken French midconversation. Although Ansky and Schulbaum did not become great friends because of age, educational and cultural differences, Ansky spoke with great respect about the Galician wise man whose body is weak from old age yet has a great memory, recalls obscure texts, and is still immersed in literature like a young scholar. Ansky, who was fascinated by Jewish folklore and researched ancient Yiddish dialects, found rare linguistical material in Schulbaum's library and borrowed materials from Schulbaum. Schulbaum honored him with a Hebrew book written in Assyrian characters from the late MiddleAges in Germany. Dr. Lander could not recall the name of the book or its content.
Rabbi Judah Leon Magnes was also interested in Schulbaum's fate. A short time before America joined World War I, Rabbi Magnes unexpectedly arrived in Lviv as a leader of an AmericanJewish charity. Rabbi Magnes had come to assess the state of Galician Jews and their suffering under occupation, and had brought significant sums of money. During his mission, he contacted the Tagblatt editorial board and requested statistics needed for his friends in New York. During the first conversation, he asked me and members of the National Zionist Committee how and whether he could meet Moshe Schulbaum because he had to relay a message from the family of Alexander Kohut. Magnes also hinted that the editors of the new edition of Aruch Completum had used many of Schulbaum's ideas. The Kohut family had attempted in vain to contact Schulbaum since the war had started and asked Rabbi Magnes to locate him if he was still alive. Rabbi Magnes was very disappointed to learn that none of us knew where Schulbaum was because we could not contact Russianoccupied Ternopil. After Ternopil was liberated, we learned that the Russians held Schulbaum as a hostage of sorts so that the community would comply, and only his advanced age saved him from being exiled to Russia. From a different conversation with Rabbi Magnes,
I learned that he had first heard of Schulbaum from his friend, writer Dr. Friedlander (known for his translation to German of Dubnow's Letters on Old and New Judaism and Ahad Ha'am's Al Parashat Derakhim [At a Crossroads]) while both were still attending German universities. Magnes also said that he had no chance of being issued a permit to enter Russian territory, as he was known as a staunch opposer of American assistance to Russia because of the Russian hostility towards Jews. Magnes further noted that American and Russian Jewry maintained ties and he would attempt to contact Schulbaum on the other side. When Rabbi Magnes and I met in Jerusalem, he remembered that ordeal and said that, indeed, contact was established with Schulbaum with help from the RussianJewish Rescue Committee. Magnes added, If I remember correctly after decades, there was correspondence between Dr. Kohut and Schulbaum, which likely bears importance for Hebrew linguistics. The correspondence has yet to be confirmed by any other source.
Schulbaum stayed in Ternopil for one month after it was liberated until he contacted his wife and daughter in Vienna. Schulbaum was at a loss in the unpredictable environment postWorld War I. He could not stay in Ternopil after falling victim to the arson the Russian military committee [perpetrated] as they retreated, leaving full streets plundered and burnt. Schulbaum temporally resided with a friend until he could decide on the near future. The Baron Hirsch institutions no longer existed in Eastern Galicia and his family in Vienna did not want to return to the dangers of the Russian border. Once more, income became an issue and a solution could be found only at the Baron Hirsch Board in Vienna. Schulbaum preferred Lviv to Vienna so he could avoid seeing his son and daughterinlaw, which he had not recognized. However, Lviv awakened in him bitter memories. His talented sons died
In Lviv and he suffered hunger there. Therefore, no choice remained but to travel to Vienna where his wife and most beloved daughter were and where most of his surviving intellectual friends lived.
L. Final Days in Vienna
When Schulbaum arrived in Vienna at the end of summer 1917, Schulbaum found only his coat hanging near the window. His suitcases and all their contents had been stolen. Schulbaum's work from 30 years was lost. He was so irritated that he cursed at the administrators of the military train he arrived on and nearly became entangled in a trial for disparaging the military. He forgot everything as he fell into his daughter's and wife's arms in the eastern terminal and he did not remember the content of the stolen suitcases. The suitcases included manuscripts and, in his naivete, Schulbaum was certain that the honest thieves would recognize their error and that it does not pay to steal wornout items
The passport and other official documents note Schulbaum as a religion instructor by trade. Austria did not recognize the rights of the Hebrew language so its teaching was included in religious teaching.
and old yellowing papers and would therefore return everything to the address he glued on each suitcase. The police recorded the theft immediately and searched in vain for many weeks. Only a thin booklet he had in his coat pocket remained, the cover of which carried the photos of Reuven and David, his two genius sons as he called them, who had died in Lviv. The book was the German translation of NightThoughts by English poet Edward Young. While in Ternopil, Schulbaum poured his heart out to Khartiner and said that he very often read NightThoughts when plagued by insomnia. In Vienna his schedule changed; the day belonged to his young wife Malka (Emalia) and their daughter, Ethel. Ethel had grown since Moshe last saw her and demonstrated talent at her secondary school. At night, Moshe read NightThoughts, occasionally looked at the pictures of his deceased sons and honored their memory.
New and old friends, writers and educated folks, greeted him honorably and helped him with obtaining his pension from the Baron Hirsch Board. He was visited often by David Yeshaya Silberbusch, Rabbi Dr. Joseph Samuel Bloch, Isaac Torczyner (father of Professor TurSinai), writer Chaim Bloch, BenTzion Schifman and others. They accompanied him home almost daily because he had the habit of attending the Zion Library to read a book or a newspaper and he often visited a cafi where Zionist writers and advocates convened. On rare occasions, he met with his son from his second marriage and demonstrated open coldheartedness towards him. He once excitedly told Isaac Torczyner, My son did not convert, he is Jewish. But who can promise me that my grandchildren from him would not do as Elia Levita's grandchildren did after his death? Schulbaum saw the ongoing diaspora as a trap of assimilation. Chaim Bloch wrote me from New York that Schulbaum disfavored the involvement in regional politics of German and Galician Zionists. Schulbaum saw only one solution to the problems facing Judaism: a return to the Hebrew language and return to the Land of Israel. Schulbaum lived respectfully with his daughter, and wife
for 8 months only. He died at a ripe old age shortly after the news of the Balfour Declaration reached Vienna, despite the strict military censor. When Schulbaum's friend, Joseph Samuel Bloch, wrote an article harshly criticizing English Zionism in Dr. Bloch's newspaper Osterreichische Wochenschrift (which was the community's mouthpiece), Schulbaum rebuked him. Thus, Schulbaum still had the time to peek and see in his imagination as the day dawned on the hope of Zion and the opening of the gates to the renewal of the nation on its Forefathers' land. Schulbaum peacefully closed his eyes forever, knowing that his life's work to revive the Hebrew language was not in vain because a spoken, living Hebrew language is the main key to the revival of the people and the land. The Hebrew writers who visited him while he was bedridden in Vienna encouraged him by saying that his place in the history of the reviving nation was guaranteed. In April 1918, the first revivor and expander of the Hebrew language of the previous century died in Vienna.
Twenty years after Moshe's death, his daughter and his widow were unable to obtain a permit for aliyah as the Nazi regime spread across central Europe. His daughter wrote me with great, yet reserved, pain that her request to a high Zionist authority was denied due to a lack of certificates. Ethel and her family were rescued at the very last moment. Because her husband was a wellknown doctor at the Rothchild hospital, a Nazi officer (probably costumed [?]) rescued the family from arrest and termination and the family immigrated to America. The widow died in New York in 1948. At her death, the written Hebrew course Moshe wrote for his daughter vanished mysteriously, along with an uncompleted, worn, and blurry manuscript of an AramaicHebrew dictionary. Moshe's daughter mourns the loss of the manuscripts and the life she could have had. Her son is a highranking officer in the American military and stationed in Bermuda. He is a father of four children who take pride in their great grandfather and would like to read about him and his intellectual enterprise. Ethel divorced her doctor husband, and her longing for Israel is intensifying. How different my life and my son's lives would have been, she wrote, had we been allowed to live in Israel and participate in its rebuilding! She very much admires her great father and continues to devote much time and effort to finding his lost manuscripts.
M. The Lost Manuscript
Seven years ago, I met with the elder writer Gershom Bader in New York after decades of no contact. Many of our conversations concerned Moshe Schulbaum, as a man and a writer. Gershom likely did not know about Schulbaum's daughter in America. He did not mention Ethel and I did not mention her because I had not yet learned that Schulbaum's wife and family were able to escape Austria. Powered by his phenomenal memory, Bader added many details. When Bader heard the reason, for my interest this time was to write an extensive monograph for the 100th anniversary of Schulbaum's birth, he gestured as if pointing at a manuscript in front of him and said that he has in his possession a manuscript ready for publication, detailing all of Schulbaum's lifeturns, literary contributions, and educational outreach. Bader corresponded with Schulbaum. Bader, too, told me about a long manuscript that Schulbaum worked on perfecting thirty years ago. Schulbaum kept the details of the manuscript to himself. As was his habit, in a joking manner Bader said, If the manuscript was found by someone out there then one day the Jewish and Christian worlds would be surprised when a new Bible would appear, a Bible corrected, clarified, and different from any version we currently have the Moshe Schulbaum version.
On the same topic, Bader expanded on Schulbaum's thorough scholarliness, his tremendous knowledge of the treasures of our literature, and his wisdom deep as the sea, also in the Gentiles' humanities. Schulbaum was much deeper than Simon Bernfeld concerning all of Jewish wisdom, and Schulbaum would have never produced a shallow and questionable work like Bernfeld's introduction to The Holy Scriptures. Moreover, Schulbaum studied the Bible for 70 consecutive years. He examined every version and every tradition, and deeply loved every verse. According to Bader, his essay about Schulbaum, which would have revealed some details about the lost manuscript (joined with
private letters which contain hints about the details) was to be published soon as a special and expanded chapter of his Wise Men of Galicia series.
Meanwhile, Bader, too, died, and no one remained who knew Schulbaum as well as Bader did. If Bader's estate will publish his literary belongings, they will likely contain unknown details unavailable in any other source as demonstrated by the fact that Knaani's two expansive essays and Dr. Gelber's historical additions revealed only a small part of a life of creativity. As a native of Schulbaum's hometown, I attempted to complete some missing or distorted links in Schulbaum's history and works, some details that I remembered and others from conversations with members of his generation. However, Gershom Bader contributed to most periodicals that Schulbaum contributed to, lived in most of the towns Schulbaum lived in at the same time period, and was educated alongside him. Perhaps the most important missing link in Schulbaum's history will be revealed: the reason for the nearcomplete ceasing of scientific publication in Schulbaum's last thirty years, which he devoted to indepth probing of our literature. According to Bader's assessment, Schulbaum edited/adapted his speeches to written works about the relation between Hebrew and other Semitic languages. Perhaps the topics and content of the lost manuscript Schulbaum was working on would be revealed although the manuscript is likely lost beyond hope of relocation. Schulbaum's daughter is nearly certain that the manuscript was lost in the suitcases stolen on the train as he travelled from Ternopil to Vienna.
Either way, I was prevented from providing here even a shallow overview of his biblical criticism. I was very eager to review Professor Klausner's manuscript about Schulbaum, [in order] to publish at least a summary of it. Unfortunately, the manuscript was not found although the elderly scholar searched for many days. Professor Klausner is certain that the manuscript was not lost
and will eventually be found among the thousands of manuscripts and letters that he accumulated over his decades as an editor, writer and researcher, if he ever carefully archives the old materials in his possession. Professor Klausner notes from memory that Schulbaum's manuscript included dozens of proposed corrections to the versions of scriptures, among them some straightforward proposals and other unlikely estimates [educated guesses?].
I will conclude with one of those estimates that Meir Khartiner remembered from his and Schulbaum's last conversation in Ternopil.
2 Samuel 5:8 says, …Whosoever getteth up to the gutter, and smiteth the Jebusites… All commentators across history debated the meaning of the word tzinor [gutter in KJV] in that verse. Schulbaum translated it as a stone or a stone fortress because the Hebrew word tzinor is similar in form to the Aramaic word tinora, translated thusly.
On this 100th anniversary since the start of Schulbaum's work, it is a genuine good deed to memorialize the poor scholar and bring his words to generations to come.
General Notes and Footnotes
These notes and footnotes were added by the original author unless otherwise noted that they were added by this Yizkor Book's translation cocoordinator.
In our generation, Scholar Y.N. Epstein excelled in similarly bold ideas as he researched the styling of the Mishna. He explained the verse my skin blackened upon me (Job 30:30) as my skin was shed from me as in shkhir, a type of scissors, resembling the word shakor (black). He did so according to the wellknown Talmudic debate equalizing the words meshilin [shedding], meshirin [shedding], mashchilin [threading ?], and mashchirin [blackening] in the text of the Mishna (tractate Beitza 81, 41) See Mavo L'nusach HaMishna [introduction to the Mishna Text] vol. A pp. 320). Return
JewishGen, Inc. makes no representations regarding the accuracy of
the translation. The reader may wish to refer to the original material
JewishGen is not responsible for inaccuracies or omissions in the original work and cannot rewrite or edit the text to correct inaccuracies and/or omissions.
Our mission is to produce a translation of the original work and we cannot verify the accuracy of statements or alter facts cited.
Ozeryany, Ukraine Yizkor Book Project JewishGen Home Page
Copyright © 1999-2023 by JewishGen, Inc.
Updated 17 Oct 2019 by LA