Page 146 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 18

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Peretz and Leivick pursued opposite paths to reach martyrdom
and God. The heroism of the created folk types inspired in
Peretz an appreciation and love for the humanity of the Jew.
The intense physical suffering he endured, and the insults di-
rected against his own worth, explain Leivick’s infusion with
the martyrdom idea which, in his poetry, became a revelation
of the Jewish essence in man. His mind’s incandescence beacons
this theme throughout his writings.
There is an unfailing barometer that forecasts Leivick’s abid-
ing place in Jewish literature. He, more than any one else in
Yiddish poetry, sharpens the reader’s urge to quote memorable
lines. Fortunate indeed is that Yiddish bard whose verse distills
such a “sweet savor” to inspire lovers of poetry.