ELIEZER PAVIR (d. ca. 1812)
According to some sources, his surname was Paver or Favir. He was born in Tarnopol, Galicia, and lived in Lemberg and Zholkiev (Żółkiew) where he worked as secretary for the Jewish community council. He was a pioneer of popular literature in Yiddish in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. He wrote in a pure, folkish, Hassidic Yiddish. He wrote no original works himself, but he exerted considerable influence on his readers at the time through his Yiddish translations. His Sefer sipure hapelaot, oder gerimte geshikhte (Tales of wonder, or illustrious history) (Żółkiew, 1801), 106 pp., which he in his own language “retold” as a version of the Old Yiddish Mayse-bukh (Story book), contains forty stories from the roughly 250 in the Mayse bukh, and it appeared in print in numerous copies in editions from Żółkiew, Józefów, Vilna, and Warsaw. His reworking of the Jewish Enlightenment drama by the Mohilever Maggid (Khayim Avrom), Milḥama beshalom (War in peace), under the title Gdules yoysef (The grandeur of Joseph), was completed, according to the Hebrew preface, in on Tevet 18 [= January 9], 1795. Pavir also authored a number of storybooks that he published anonymously and distributed in Galicia early in the Enlightenment movement. His reworking of Beḥinat olam (Examination of the world) into Yiddish, based on Y. A. Auerbach’s translation (Sulzbach, 1744), possessed immense value and Yiddish-language riches—published under the title Safa berura (Clear language) together with the original in Żółkiew (1805). He also translated into a popular Yiddish style Shivḥe baal-shem-tov (Praises for the Baal-Shem-Tov) (Lemberg- Żółkiew, 1812), and we know from the preface that he completed this work in 1811.
Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 3 (under the name “Favir”); Zalmen Zilbertsvayg, Leksikon fun yidishn teater (Handbook of the Yiddish theater), vol. 3 (New York, 1959), p. 2200, with a bibliography; Noyekh Prylucki, in Yivo-bleter (Vilna) 1 (1931), pp. 408-14; Dr. Y. Shatski, Arkhiv tsu der geshikhte fun yidishn teater un drame (Archive for the history of Yiddish theater and drama) (Vilna, 1930), pp. 151-58; A. Yeri, in Kiryat sefer (Jerusalem) 8 (1931), pp. 80-81; L. Zamet, in Yidishe shprakh (New York) 15.3 (December 1965).
Khayim Leyb Fuks