Page 162 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 11 (1952-1952)

Basic HTML Version

JEWI SH BOOK ANNUAL
156
Shabbat
, were manifestations of the poet’s desire to spread knowl-
edge, to educate, to renew the old and to safeguard what is worth-
while and beautiful in Hebrew literature and life. Together with
his lifelong collaborator Ravnitzki, Bialik published the Aggadic
anthology,
Sefer Haaggadah
, which contains in clarified form and
in a systematic and logical order the non-legalistic talmudic lore,
thereby exemplifying his idea of assembling all th a t is great, vital
and lasting in Jewish culture. He wrote a commentary on pa r t
of the Mishnah, and collected the poems of Solomon ibn Gabirol
and Moses ibn Ezra. He wrote, edited and published for the bene-
fit of school children to whom he dedicated so many of his delightful,
gay and playful songs. He translated into vibran t Hebrew
Wilhelm
Tell
,
Don Quixote,
and
The Dybbuk.
In his unique style he weaved,
adapted and synthesized all the beauty and v itality of the Hebrew
language throughout the ages. He revived obsolete words, created
new forms and by example and advice helped to advance the rapid
development of modern Hebrew.
In his poem,
When I am Dead
, Bialik lamentfully predicted th a t
death will hush his melody. But on the eightieth birthday of the
poet of Jewish renaissance, we are still moved and inspired by his
poetry, and we can confidently proclaim with the great contem-
porary poet, Yaakov Kahan, in his sonnet on Bialik,
“ . . . Happy are the future generations,
Who shall know only the glory of your brightness;
For them you have not died and shall not die . .
Really to appreciate him, one must read Bialik in the original
Hebrew, bu t if one must read him through the silken curtain of
translation, here is a suggested list in English:
Complete poetic works
of Hayyim Nahman Bialik. T ranslated
from the Hebrew. Volume 1. Edited with introduction by
Israel Efros. New York, H istadru th Iv r ith of America
1948. 267 p.
Aftergrowth and other stories
by Hayyim Nahman Bialik. Trans-
lated by I. M. Lask. Philadelphia, Jewish Publication
Society of America, 1939. 216 p.
And it came to pass:
legends and stories about King David
and King Solomon told by Bialik. Translated by Herbert
Danby. New York, Hebrew Publishing Co., 1938. 281 p.
Far over the sea:
poems and jingles for children. Translated
by Jessie Sampter. Cincinnati, Union of American Hebrew
Congregations, 1939. 90 p.