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January 10, 1964 - Image 18

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1964-01-10

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Fr iday, January 10, 1964—THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS- 18

2 Volumes on Freud and Religion—`Future
of an Illusion' and His Letters with Pfister

"Sigmund Freud — Psychoan-
alysis and Faith—Dialogues with
the Rev. Oskar Pfister," appears
for the first time in any lang-
uage. Edited by Heinrich Meng
and Ernst L. Freud, it has been
published by Basic Books (404
Park Ave. S., NY16).
The daughter of Freud, Anna
Freud, as well as his son Ernst,
played their roles in this ex-
change of correspondence with
the Swiss Protestant clergyman.
It is the third collection of
Freud letters to be published.
Ernst Freud, in his preface,
indicates that some of the
Freud-Pfister letters were de-
stroyed at the latter's request
"and others perished in the haz-
ards of emigration," but the
texts of some letters were re-
constructed from the minister's
notes.
Nearly 100 of the original
134 items in the correspon-
dence, which was conducted
on the question of religion
and psychoanalysis between
1909 and 1937, are reproduced
in the Basic Books volume.
It is of more than passing in-
terest that the Rev. Pfister also
expressed his views in his book
"Illusion of a Future," which
was a reply to Dr. Freud's "The
Future of an Illusion," and that
the latter, translated by W. D.
Robson-Scott, revised and newly
edited by James Strachey, has
just been reissued by Doubleday
as an Anchor Paperback.
The warm friendship that had
developed between Pfister and
Freud marks one of the most
interesting chapters in the life
of the father of modern psycho-
analytical science. Their views,
their points of agreement as well
as disagreement, appear in this
volume with such clarity and
such force that this volume rep-
resents one of the most valuable
new additions to Freudian lit-
erature.
Emphasizing the significance
of this exchange of correspon-
dence is the emergence of opin-
ions on religious elements in
psychiatry and the relations as
well as frequent conflicts be-
tween the two, and the opinions
of the two scholars, appearing
in their letters, about their con-
temporaries who became famous
in psychiatry—Jung, Reik, Jones,
Rank, Adler and others.
In a brief introduction,
Anna Freud offers these in-
teresting recollections: "In a
totally non-religious Freud
household, Pfister, in his cler-
ical garb and with the man-
ners and behavior of a pastor,
was like a visitor from an-
other world. In him there was
nothing of the almost passion-
ately impatient enthusiasm for
science which caused other pi-
oneers of analysis to regard
time spent at the family table
only as an unwelcome inter-
ruption of their theoretical
and clinical discussions. On
the contrary, his human
warmth and enthusiasm . . .

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made him at all times a wel-
come guest, a uniquely human
figure in his way . . . It was
this overflowing of feelings of
psycho-analysis to its founder,
and from him to his children,
that led Pastor Pfister after
Freud's death to leave the cor-
respondence to me, 'the daugh-
ter of his great benefactor,'
as he called me, with permis-
sion to make use of suitable
material, subject to the reser-
vation that nothing should be
published that might give of-
fence to any living person."
While, in the correspondence,
there is a reference to a "dec-
laration of war" between the
two personalities who were
clashing with their ideas, there
is, indeed, in the entire ex-
change, a warmth, a friendship,
a desire to cooperate. For in-
stance, Pfister had written of
his desire "to be of assistance
in making use of every kind of
human value in regard to which
the patient is not always able
to help himself, because that
is my duty as an educator and
as a minister." To which Freud
replied: "You as a minister nat-
urally have the right to call on
all the reinforcements at your
command, while we as analysts
must be more reserved, and
must lay the chief accent on the
effort to make the patient inde-
pendent, which often works out
to the disadvantage of the
therapy."
There is great charm in
Pfister's approaches, and his
high regard for Freud was ex-
pressed in this latter, dated
Oct. 10, 1918: "Finally you
ask why psycho-analysis was
not discovered by any of the
pious, but by an atheist Jew.
The answer obviously is that
piety is not the same as ge-
nius for discovery and that
most of the pious did not have
it in them to make such dis-
coveries. Moreover, in the
first place you are no Jew,
which to me, in view of my
unbounded admiration for
Amos, Isaiah, Jeremiah, and
the author of Job and Eccle-
siastes, is a matter of pro-
found regret, and in the sec-
ond place you are not god-
less, for he who lives the
truth lives in God, and he
who strives for the freeing
of love `dwelleth in God'
(First Epistle of John, IV, 16).
If you raised to your con-

sciousness and fully felt- your
place in the great design,
which to me is as necessary
as the synthesis of the notes
is to a Beethoven symphony,
should say of you: A better
Christian there never was ..."
Because the Pfister-Freud
correspondence continued dur-
ing the early years of Hitler's
domination over Germany, a
reference in their letters to the
Nazi regime is of extreme in-
terest. Pfister wrote to Freud
on May 24, 1933:
"I paid a brief visit to Ger-
many last week, and it will be
a long time before I am able
to get rid of the feeling of
disgust I got there. The pro-
letarian militarism there
stinks even more evilly than
the blue-blooded Junker spirit
of the Wilhelmine era. Cow-
ardly towards the outside
world, it wreaks its infantile
rage on defenseless Jews, and
even loots the libraries. Good
luck to him who in the face of
such crass idiocy still has the
strength to be a doctor of
souls . . ."
The paperback of Freud's
"The Future of an Illusion" con-
tains the eminent analyst's view
on the role of religion in the
development of human person-
ality. The editor of this edi-
tion had the assistance of Anna
Freud as well as of Alix Stra-
chey and Alan Tyson.
Freud asserted in "The Fu-
ture of an Illusion": "In the
long run nothing can withstand
reason and experience, and the
contradiction which religion of-
fers to both is all too palpable."
Thus, the non-religious feel-
ings of Freud were emphasized.
The analyst also declared: "Edu-
cation freed from the burden
of religious doctrines will not
. . . effect much change in man's
psychological nature . . . science
has given us evidence by its nu-
merous successes that it is no
illusion . . . An illusion it would
be to suppose that what science
cannot give us we can get else-
where." To Freud, there were
distortions in religious doc-
trines.
"The Future of an Illusion,"
appearing as it does at the same
time as the Pfister-Freud letters,
adds to the merits of review of
the Freudian reactions to re-
ligion and the religious-psycho-
analytical controversies.

Reading Torah from a Platform
From Description in Nehemiah

By RABBI SAMUEL J. FOX

(Copyright, 1964, JTA, Inc.)

The Sefer Torah is read in the
synagogue from a central elevat-
ed platform.
The practice is understood to
come from the description in the
Book of Nehemiah where it is
told how Ezra the Scribe read
the Torah in public. It is writ-
ten there: "And Ezra the Scribe
stood upon a platform of wood,
which they made for this pur-
pose . . . and they read . . ."
(Nehemiah 8:4).
It is maintained that the Torah
must be read from an elevated
platform so that the people
understand that the word of the
Almighty is higher than the
word of man. It is particularly
desired that the place where the
Torah is read should be in the
center of the congregation while
the people gather around it.
This gives us the picture as it
was at Sinai when the Torah was
given — the people were all
around the mountain and the
Torah was given in the midst of
them. It is also said to signify
that the Torah should be a part
of us and not just a literary
piece in the abstract.
The Torah is read from a
parchment scroll which con-

tains all five books of Moses.
Having the five volumes all in
one scroll indicates a unified
expression of the will of the
Almighty. The parchment of
the scroll suggests a living
tradition.
Every public act of holiness
requires a quorum of ten men
(a minyan). Some of the rabbis
claim that this is particularly
necessary in view of the fact
that the name of the Almighty
is blessed before the reading
(Bor'Chu). In general, it serves
to impress us that the achieve-
ment of holy acts and purposes
cannot be realized on an indi-
vidual basis alone. One needs
a community spirit to fulfill
one's obligation to Heaven. Man
was not destined to live and
exist alone—but rather was he
created to act as part of an or-
ganized humanity dedicated to
the perfection of the human race
and its adherence to the stan-
dards of the Almighty.

Brewer Jerry Hoffberger, the
second largest stockholder in
the Baltimore Orioles, is ru-
mored to be after sole control
of the club. The club balance
sheet shows only $100,000
profit.

French Court Rules That Cheating in Provision
of Kashrut Is Equivalent to Criminal Swindle

(Direct JTA Teletype Wire
to The Jewish News)

PARIS' — A French criminal
court established a precedent in
religious jurisprudence Monday
by ruling that cheating in Ko-
sher provisioning was equivalent
to a criminal swindle in the
quality of publicly offered
merchandise.
The court found two Tunisian
butchers guilty and fined each
100 francs ($20) on charges of
having sold non-Kosher meat as
Kosher. The Paris Jewish Con-
sistory was granted one-franc
symbolic damages in the case.
The ruling marked the first

time in France that such mis-
representation was considered a
criminal offense. Until the rul-
ing the only defenses of the
chief rabbinate against such
abuses was publication of the
names of offenders on a black-
list.

One of Hakoah-Vienna's all-
time soccer greats, Juschy
Gruenfeld, operates the restau-
rant in the Beacon Hotel in
N.Y.C. Hakoah-Vienna was the
all-Jewish club that dominated
European soccer in the 1924s.

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