Page 121 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 16

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107
H
oenig
— P
inkhos
C
hurgin
“Bar-Ilan University is unique in its goal and history. In its
academic structure, Bar-Ilan University follows the pattern of the
American standard university, thus enabling students from this con-
tinent to take part of their collegiate training at Bar-Ilan University
without any dislocation of their program of study or loss of credit
at any American university.”
“The strength of the future of Israel is not confined to one region
of life only, namely, its material development. The importance of
the cultural and spiritual development of the country needs no
particular elaboration. It must go hand in hand with the material
development of the country.”
Addressing the student body at the exercises marking the
opening of the 1957-1958 academic year, his prophetic sentiments
were clearly revealed:
“Allow me finally to offer a word of warning against one of the
besetting sins of our present day—superficiality. One of the funda-
mental reasons for those normal problems to which we have referred
is this superficial approach. The dangers which it brings exist not
only in the fields of faith, philosophy and research but also in the
relationship between Israel and the Diaspora and, indeed, between
Israel and its past. We must on no account accept blindly such
superficial attitudes but probe, dissect and analyze until we have
penetrated to the truth.”
How much of an author’s character is revealed in his writings?
In Pinkhos Churgin’s literary essays one perceives the soul of
his activity. Steeped in the lore of the Second Commonwealth,
he devoted every fiber within him to the strengthening of the
cultural values nurtured in the Second Commonwealth for
guidance of the Th ird Commonwealth. Aware of the Hellenism
of the Diaspora, his yearning was always for the Judaism of
Zion. From “Zion shall come forth T o rah /’ meant to him the
emergence of the Bar-Ilan University.
His physical weakness in the last few months of 1957 did not
deter him from seeking to solve the financial and cultural prob-
lems of the academic tree he had planted—the Bar-Ilan. In his
last dying moment he demonstrated his fealty to his God and
nation by praying silently and also urging his two daughters
to sing “Hatikvah” with him. He was “gathered to his people’־‘
on Thursday, November 28, 1957 (5 Kislev, 5718) and laid to
rest in Kiryat Shaul, Tel Aviv, Israel, on December 3.