Sunday, November 3, 2013

David Levi (1742, London – 1801) one of the last men known to have understood the talmud

In 1810, John Wallis published: London : being a complete guide to the British capital. It contains an entire chapter devoted to the Jews of London and their history with much entertaining information. Of interest is the author's open hatred for the German and Polish Jews and respect for the Spanish and Portuguese community. One exception is his description of David Levi.
From page 340 in the book: "But to the general imputation of extreme ignorance, the late Mr. David Levi, was a striking exception. This man was originally a shoemaker, next a hatter, next an author and finally a printer.........Mr Levi died in 1805 and was one of the last men known to have understood the talmud."
On David Levi

From Page 341: "Of late years, it must be acknowledged, that a person bearing the name of a Jewish Bookseller, may be found in the environs of Duke's place and who has been concerned in some recent publications. But so few are the calls at home, for the purpose of literature, that the bookseller who is a stirring man, may very frequently be met with abroad, with a bag over his shoulder in quest of old clothes."
On the London Bookseller

But the most interesting mention in the book is that of his description of the Baal Shem of London, whom he refers to as Dr. Falk, the Jewish Magician. You can read below his lengthy description.

No comments:

Post a Comment