Page 123 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 20

Basic HTML Version

— S
of the “Golden Age” such as Judah Halevi, Abraham ibn Ezra,
David ibn Pakudah, Solomon Gerondi and Judah ben David
Yahya. Bernstein in his introduction reveals an interesting his-
torical detail, namely, that changes were made in the Spanish
place names of the printed Venice edition of the collection. He
suggests that this was deliberately done to prevent any reprisals
on the part of the Inquisition authorities against Spanish and
Portuguese exiles or Marranos in Italy. The edition is divided
into three sections: (1) 45 poems by anonymous authors under
the general title “The Conflagration in the Temple”; (2) 22
poems composed by well-known poets under the heading “The
Divine Presence Cries Out”; and (3) 20 poems of lamentation
over the persecutions in the years 1391-1421. This edition is
furnished with illuminating notes appended to the text.
Religious Poetry of Moses ibn Ezra
Bernstein’s most recent major contribution has been a de luxe
edition of the religious poetry of Moses ibn Ezra, published in
Tel Aviv in 1956-1957. This handsome volume is supplied with
an interesting Hebrew biographical and literary introduction
to the works of Moses ibn Ezra, and contains a clearly vocalized
text of 237 poems arranged under eleven headings: (1) Poems of
redemption, (2) In the night watches, containing poems of con-
fession and penitence, (3) New Year supplications and Hoshan-
nah poems for Sukkot, (4) Ma’amad for Day of Atonement,
(5) Kerobah 1 for Day of Atonement according to the Algerian
rite, (6) Kerobah 2 for Day of Atonement according to the
Avignon rite, (7) Kerobah 3 for Day of Atonement according
to the rites of Barcelona, Algiers, Tunis and Avignon, (8) Order
of Abodah for Day of Atonement, (9) Kerobot for Minhah of
Day of Atonment, (10) Kerobah for Ne’ilah of Day of Atone-
ment, (11) Additions and new liturgical poems hitherto unpub-
lished. All the poems are edited with explanatory notes at the
end of the volume. For this edition, Bernstein made use of Mss.
in the Jewish Theological Seminary and in the Bodleian at
Oxford and also compared a number of printed Mahzorim.
In conclusion we may mention that in addition to the fore-
going major publications, Bernstein has published numerous
articles in different periodicals on a number of minor poets and
their works, too numerous to analyze in this brief essay. Suffice
it to say that in our judgment, on the basis of Bernstein’s rich
productivity and the quality of his scholarship, he has earned
a prominent niche in the hall of fame of medieval Hebrew
scholarship along with such illustrious predecessors as Zunz,
Dukes, S. D. Luzzatto, H. Brody, A. Harkavy, and I. Davidson.