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May 10, 1968 - Image 15

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1968-05-10

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

Friday, May 10, 1968-15


Ahad Ha-Am's Essay on Moses Printed;
Marks 40th Year of Philosopher's 'Death

The 40th yahrzeit of Ahad
Ha'am has rekindled the memory
of this great thinker and outstand-
ing writer of the Hebrew Renais-
sance. And it is no mere coinci-
dence that the Tarbuth Foundation
has just published "Selected Essays
of Ahad Ha'am" in a study edi-
tion of the Hebrew original, with
an introduction. notes and vocabu-
lary, prepared by Dr. Joshua H.
Neumann, professor emeritus of
English. at Brooklyn College, and
a distinguished Hebraist in his own
The Ahad Ha'am volume marks
the first part in the Tarbuth Foun-
dation's "Modern Hebrew Classics"
anthology, which will include also
works of Ag71011, Barash, Berkovitz,
Hazaz and Shenhar.
Following are the closing pass-
ages from Ahad Ha'am's famous
essay on "Moses," which is incor-
porated in the Tarbuth edition. The
excerpt is reprinted with permis-
sion of the Jewish Publication So-
ciety of America, from "Selected
Essays of Ahad Ha'am," translated
from the Hebrew by Leon Simon.

language, in which the Jewish
spirit expresses itself, has no pres-
ent tense, but only a past and a
future. Whether the Jew is funda-
mentally an optimist or a pessimist
is a much-debated question; but it
is pointless. The Jew is both opti-
mist and pessimist; but his pes-
simism relates to the present, and
his optimism to the future. That
was true of the Prophets, and it is
equally true of the people of the
Modern Jewish history provides
one exception, and one only, to the
general rule. There was a short
period during which the Jewish
people, worn down by the intoler-
able burden of suffering, began to
crave for immediate satisfactions.
They would seize the passing hour,
like the rest of the world; they
would give up demanding more of
life than life can offer. It was a
new desire, and became a new
ideal; and for all its fundamentally
anti-Prophetic character, it was
pursued with all the Prophet's
singleness of purpose and dis-
regard of obstacles. Its attainment
seeming to demand the abandon-
ment of the age-long dream of a
great future, the sacrifice was
made without a struggle. The fu-

ture having been thrown on the
scrap-heap, the past naturally went
with it, having no meaning except
as a mirror of the future. But we
all know the end of the story. The
prize of immediate satisfaction was
not attained; and all the labor ex-
pended in the effort to destroy one
world and build another left noth-
ing behind except desolation and a
bitter sense of wasted effort.
This, however, was only a pass-
ing phase, a sort of fainting-fit with
temporary loss of consciousness.
The Prophetic spirit does not re-
main in abeyance for long; it soon
re-asserts its hold on the recalic-
trant Prophet. So the Prophetic
people was brought to heel and
restored to self-consciousness. And
once again we sense in faint outline
the re-incarnation of Moses, and
the same Spirit that summoned
him thousands of years ago, and
sent him all unwilling on his mis-
sion, repeats its imperious sum-
mons to our generation at this mo-
ment: "And that which cometh
into your mind shall not be at all;
in that ye say: We will be as the
nations.. . . As I live, saith the
Lord God, surely with a mighty
hand ... will I be king over you."

Bazak --- Big Guide to Small Israel


The creator, as I have said,
creates in his own image; and in
this portrait of Moses the Jewish
people has expressed itself at its
highest. The Cabbalists have well
said that Moses is re-incarnated in
every age; and there is in fact no
period of our sombre history in
which a Mosaic spark cannot be
detected. The point needs no elabo-
ration: we need go no further than
the Hebrew prayer-book, almost
every page of which bears witness
to the longing of the Jewish people
for the realization of the universal.
istic ideals of the Prophets.
Throughout the darkest periods of
our history, when our very exist-
ence was threatened and persecu-
tion drove us from one country to
another, that longing remained
unquenchable. The Jewish people
has never lived in the present. Al-
way unhappy, always in bitter re-
volt against the wickedness of the
world as it is, we have none the
less retained undying hope and
faith in the triumph of the good
and the right in the world that is
to be; and that hope and that faith
have been fortified by brooding on
the past idealizing it into a kind of
mirror of the future. The Hebrew

Produced by Avraham Levi, pub-
lished as a "Bazak Israel Guide"
by Israel Guidebook Publishers (16
Mamaroneck, Tel Aviv) and dis-
tributed in this country by Pitman
Publishing, Corp. (20 E. 46th
NY17), this handy book serves a
valuable purpose. It is accom-
panied by a map that provides an
understanding of the new Israeli
areas and of the neighboring cen-
ters with which Israel must soon
make peace.
Subtitled "the big guide to the
small country," it has data about
all significant sections that must
be visited by a tourist, shows the
way around the land and within
the major centers by means of lo-
calized maps, advises on means
for transportation in the numerous
New developments become un-
derstandable in the explanatory
portions of this book about the
cultural, industrial and .other
progressive efforts. A typical ex-
ample is the new Jaffa creativity
and the manner in which an ar-
tistic setting has been created
there. The Bazak Guide provides
vitally needed data about the mu-
seums, the art colonies, t Ii e
marts — in Jaffa, Safed, Jerusa-
lem and elsewhere.
The Bazak book is limitless.
While providing all the necessary
information about travel, sites,
monetary value, climate, it also
advises the tourist about fashions
and the seasons' requirements.
It deals with the religious com-
munities and includes historical
data about communities and the

peoples past and present.
There are suggestions for major
walks—on Mount Zion, Mea Shear-
im, Makhne Yehuda, Mt. Herzl-
Yad Vashem, Ramat Rahel, Hadas-
sah Center-Ein Kerem, Emek Ef-
Advantageous in many ways,
handy for travel, commendable in
studying Israel's present and past,
the Bazak guidebook is a valuable
new form or advice-giving volume
for visitors in Israel and for stu-
dents of Israel's status.

Symposium on Yiddish
Held • in South America

—One hundred delegates from five
South American countries attend-
ed the opening here of the second
Latin American symposium on
"Yiddish in Jewish Life," organ-
ized by, the South American ex-
ecutive of the World Jewish Con-
The. delegates, reresenting Jew-
ish communities, cultural and
writers groups in Argentina, Bra-
zil, Chile, Uruguay and Paraguay,
were greeted by Victor Rosen on
behalf of the Uruguayan Corn-
munities Federation.

Nissenson's Evaluation of Kibutz

In "Notes From the Frontier,"
published by Dial Press (750 3rd,
N.Y. 17), Hugh Nissenson de-
scribes life in Israel's Kibutz en-
vironment. He devotes 172 pages
to a portion headed "Summer
1965." Then follow 45 more pages
titled "June 1967." In the two divi-
sions he has incorporated the ex-
periences that fulfill proper de-
scriptions of Israel's peoplehood
—before the great war and immedi-
ately after it.
Nissenson's volume emerges es-
pecially meritorious because it
deals with people, with the way
of life, with the attitudes of those
who come from lands of oppression
as well as Westerners who have
linked their existence into Israel's
historic aims and aspirations.
The full title of Nissenson's
book is "Notes From the Fron-
tier: An American's Experiences
on a Border Kibutz." This ex-
plains a great deal—not only
the locale of the .descriptions but
also that it was on the border,
that the dangers were studied,
the people's attitudes evaluated.
The numerous incidents and ex-
pressions of view about the life
in Israel, the Arabs, the threats
from the enemies surrounding the
state—these form a collective ac-
count of the heroism that distin-
guishes Israel in the Middle East.
It was because he had seen the

kibutz as it was being alerted to
defend itself on the Syrian border
that Nissenson was able to portray
the reality of Israeli experiences.
Socialist aspirations, dedication
to the way of life that spells co-
operativeness, the linking of Jews
from Eastern Europe with those
of South Africa and other lands
—these are among the various fac-
tors that make Nissenson's notes
valuable for an additional appre-
ciation and understanding of life
in Israel.

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