Friday 18 September 2015


            He was the rabbi of a town near Grodno, Poland.  He authored Der nayer taytsh-khumesh (The new Yiddish version of the Pentateuch), with the five scrolls and the Haftarahs, translated from the weekly sections of the Torah, the scrolls, and Haftarahs, as well as some of the midrashim (Warsaw, 1886).  Its contents: Genesis, 160 pp.; Exodus, 136 pp.; Leviticus, 77 pp.; Numbers, 88 pp.; Deuteronomy, 94 pp; the Haftarahs and scrolls: Esther, Ecclesiastes, Ruth, and Lamentations, together with a Yiddish “homiletic explanation of the destruction of the Temple,” 106 pp.; second edition (Warsaw, 1896), with the same number of pages.  In his introduction, he writes: “This new Yiddish translation of the Pentateuch includes the best commentaries, with very old as well as new midrashim.  It also includes the best and dearest Torah novellae.  It is written in one clear language.  Old and young alike should be able to understand it.  It will lead one to proper behavior and fear of Heaven, to have the honor of seeing the redemption of Zion and Jerusalem.  Amen.”

            From his translation: “Ele hadevarim, These are the words that Moses spoke to all of Israel on that side of the Jordan, in the wilderness, in the field by the Sea of Reeds, between Paran and Tofel, and Laban and Ḥazerot and Di-Zahav; in all of these places, he reproved them.  And Moses spoke with them in the years before his death, when they would enter the Land of Israel, reproving them that they should behave well in the Land of Israel, because all of the time that he had lived he always guided them in prayer, but who would now lead them in prayer, and he explained further to them about the miracles and the kindnesses that the Lord had done for them; for they had sinned and forgotten all the favors granted them, and while the Lord had done such good deeds for them and given them such treasures, still they sinned.  This is one instance when one gives the cow plenty to eat and it grows fat as it kicks and hits its owner; so, too, despite the fact that Israel had been given plenty, it went ahead and made the golden calf, and so Moses reproved them prior to his death, so that he would not have to do so again.”

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