Thursday, November 28, 2013

The outburst of feeling expressed by Rabbi Samuel Horowitz in his book פתגמים ומחשבות שונים c1963

Authors often use their printed works as an outlet to express their emotions and beliefs. Rabbi Samuel Hurwitz, in a book of collected Sayings and various thoughts that he published titled פתגמים ומחשבות שונים is a fascinating example of such a book.
Rabbi Samuel Horowitz was a student of R. Elijah Barukh. He served as a Rabbi in Mir, Kaminonka (Grodna Province), the Bronx and by 1927, in Brownsville. Below is the title page of this book he published:

Notice how he dates the publication year of his book, the 19th year to the burning of Millions of Jews. No other date appears in the book, and the exact date of publication is not clear, OCLC lists the publication of this book under different years, most probably being 1963-64.

Following the title page is a fascinating paragraph photographed above. Using a play on the words of the text of על הניסים the author demands an explanation from G-d for the Holocaust and a plea to save him from the atheism that many survivors arrived at, after seeing G-d abandon them. Notice how he includes Chaim Weizmann with Churchill and Roosevelt.

Another page preceding the book is directed at the prospective reader of the book. Against possible critics of the book he writes:
כביכול שתעבור עליהם רוח קנאה לחייבני באפיקורסות ח"ו תפצרו בם ללמוד בעיון דברי קהלת ותתקרר דעתם
A so-called wave of zealousness will come over them and condemn me of heresy, god forbid, urge them to learn Ecclesiastes and their mind will subside

אם תפגשו עם הצנועים כביכול שיחייבוני בפורנוגרפיה בבקשה להראותם דברי שלמה בשיר השירים
If you will come across the so-called modest ones, who will accuse me of pornography, please show them the words of Solomon in the Song of Songs

באמת למי שדעתו קצרה אין ספר בלי פורנוגרפיה חוץ מספר הטלפונים
The truth is, that for one whose mind is limited, there is no book without pornography other than the phonebook

a sample page in the book, a collection of sayings and proverbs

1 comment:

  1. What interests this reader is as follows: 1 The book was written in Rabbinic Hebrew 2 Notwithstanding his being drawn to the attraction of atheism he is simultaneously conscious of the dangers of the attraction, and invites those minded to accuse him of apostasy to study Ecclesiastes 3 He had no political agenda 4 Within the context of his life and times, his book is evidence of not only what may be achieved by writing subjectively in the Holy Tongue, but also the great merit of that tongue and the religion of its provenance