Wednesday 26 November 2014


SHIYE (JOSHUA) BUDZON (December 5, 1858-November 1929)
     Born in Hanushishok, Vilna region, to a father who worked as a weaver.  He attended religious elementary school, and thereafter studied in the Remayle Yeshiva in Vilna, later still turning to general, worldly knowledge.  He became a teacher for well-to-do children.  He moved to England and became a peddler.  He then returned home and took up writing pulp fiction.  His first novel, entitled A gitraye vaybl khlebn, eyne kharakteristishe und romantishe ertseylung (A devoted wife, upon my word, a characteristic and romantic story), 98 pp., was published in Vilna in 1880, reprinted in 1891 and 1895.  His publisher, Y. L. M”ts, also published his novels: Homen mit mordekhn (Haman and Mordechai) (1893), 81 pp.; Der afrikaner khosn oder kholem-noz, eyn interesanter roman (The African groom or childish speech, an interesting novel) (1893), 32 pp.; and A mayse fun a rov mit rebetsn oder a hun oyf a katshkene ey (A tale of a rabbi and his wife or a hen on a duck’s egg) (1895), 32 pp.; among others.  (A longer list of these works can be found in Zalmen Reyzen’s Leksikon.)  He also published novels and collections of stories with the publisher, Rozenkrants ve-shriftzetser, in Vilna, such as: Khashke di grafine, oder oys shvester, vayter kale, eyn hekht interestanter roman (Khashke the countess, or not a sister any longer, still a bride to be, a fascinating novel) (1889), 176 pp. (later reprinted several times); Eyn kdaye zakh khlebn, oder der tate nemt di mamen, a rikhtike mayse (A worthwhile item, upon my word, or Father attracted Mother, a proper story) (1913), 30 pp. [1894 original]; Der mekekh toes, oder vi men bet zikh oys azoy shloft men, a fayne ertseylung (The price of an error, or how one makes one’s bed, so one sleep, an excellent story) (1926), 31 pp. [1913 original]; Der glompisher president, oder eyn kind fun tsvey mames, an ekhte figure (The silly president, or one child with two mothers, an authentic figure) (1926), 32 pp. [1895 original, 1913 reprint]; Dos khanike likhtl, oder libe un flikht (The little Chanukah candle, or love and duty) (1896), 28 pp.; Yaytsa kur utshat, oder vos bashert dos bavert (Yaytsa kur utshat, or what’s destined is realized) (1891), 31 pp.; Motke flikh (Motke the dutiful) (1893); Der mamzer, oder got vart lang un batsolt gikh, a[n] emese geshikhte fun a falshe[r] libe (The bastard, or God waits long and pays quickly, a true story of a false love) (1893), 31 pp.
     Budzon wrote into the mid-1890s.  When he later settled in Vilna, he engaged in business for a while, later becoming a bookkeeper and no longer attended to the writing of stories.  In the mid-1920s, he wrote a monograph on the well-known Vilna philanthropic woman, Dvore-Ester Helfer (1817-1907), who had provided him with room-and-board one day each week while he was a yeshiva student.  It is unknown if this work was ever published.  Budzon died in Vilna, and Zalmen Reyzen eulogized him at the funeral.

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 1, pp. 230-32; Literarishe bleter (Warsaw) (November 29, 1929); A. Vevyorke, Revizye (Revision) (Kharkov, 1931), pp. 86, 218-20; Shmuel Niger, “Shomer’s mishpet oyf sholem aleykhemen” (The Trial of Shomer in Sholem Aleykhem), Tsukunft (New York) (January 1947).


  1. The corrections in the 1-st initial of the publisher and page quantity in : "His publisher, L. L. M”ts, also published his novels: Homen mit mordekhn (Haman and Mordechai) (1893), 30 pp."

  2. "Yaytsa kur utshat" = Яйца кур учат = Eggs teach hens is a transliteration of a reduced/shortened variant of a Russian proverb "Яйца курицу не учат" = Eggs don't teach the hen. So the final meaning of the proverb was changed in the title for the opposite one : the negative connotation in the original proverb was misplaced by the positive construction.

  3. There were several more editions of "Der mekekh toes.." i.e. in 1890 and 1909. Both in Vilna

  4. There was one more vilner edition of "Der afrikaner khosn oder kholem-noz..." in 1896.

  5. There were two more vilner editions of "Dos khanike likhtl..." in 1909 and 1913.

  6. There was one more vilner edition of "Eyn kdaye zakh khlebn..." in 1909.

  7. Corrections and additions in Motke flikh (Motke the dutiful) :
    1. Motke plikh (as there is "dagesh" inside פ) meaning Motke bald-headed.
    2. The title is longer and consists of 2 parts. The second part is a shortened variant of a Russian proverb transliterated by the letters of Hebrew script.
    מאטקע פליך אדער פא זאסלוגע זאפלאטא :
    א ראמאן נאך דער לעצטער מאדע
    פערפאסט פאן י. ב-ן
    Motke plikh oder po zasluge zaplata (a rusishe shprikhvort) :
    a roman nokh der letster mode
    ferfast fon Y. B-n
    Original Russian proverb Какова заслуга, такова и оплата=What is the merit, and this is the pay
    Reduced variant По заслуге заплата. (The style of the Russian language in this variant is less literary standard)
    3. There were reeditions in 1909 and 1913.

  8. There were two more vilner editions of "Der mamzer..." in 1909 and 1913.

  9. There was one more vilner edition of "A mayse fun a rov mit rebetsn" in 1909, the publisher, Rozenkrants ve-shriftzetser.

  10. Spelling correction in the Yiddish word in A gitraye vaybl khlebn, eyne kharakterishe (not kharakteristishe) und romantishe ertseylung :
    א גיטראײע װײביל חלעבין !:
    אײנע חאראקטערישע אונד ראמאנטישע ערצעהלונג