Page 85 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 21

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79
M
ark
— H.
L
e iv ick
ceived with longing and excitement, but they did not always
netrate into the depths of confused minds. Our generation
cked the humility to be worthy of such a Rebbe. I t would
so be wrong to say that Leivick was the leader of his genera-
n. He was too subtle, too individualistic to be the leader,
d we are too fragmented into small groups to follow one
ader. Yet, his role was unique. Leivick was the brilliant source
light for our generation. We were attracted to him as helio-
pic plants are to the sun; he illuminated the deep pits of
gging doubt and the misty peaks of conscientious self-ap-
aisal. He did not sound a clarion call to arouse us, for we
ere born aroused and impatient for reconstruction and change.
ivick was our oracle, our pathfinder with a powerful lamp.
atch your step! Don’t tread on human bodies! Don’t trample
lpitating hearts! This was the constant warning of the light
at Leivick diffused.
The preceding generation of the end of the nineteenth and
e beginning of the twentieth century taught us
what
should
done and to
what
we should aspire. Our generation rushed im-
tiently to the
what ,
but in doing so it met the infinitely more
fficult
how.
Salvation for Jews, for humanity and the world
yes; but how? Can it come through the axe of the golem, as
queries in his powerful drama
The Golem?
Must it end with
salvation parody, as in
Geulah Komedie?
And for whom is
is vision of salvation? I t cannot be that man was created for
lvation, it must be that salvation was envisioned for man.
an dark by-paths lead to a shining goal? A burning conscience
ust control every step.
Leivick clearly and consciously accepted the mission of con-
ant warning in many lyric poems: do not use the sand of
difference or the snow of romanticism to cover the freshly
illed blood of your brothers. An old folk legend relates how
e could hear the roar, the seething and boiling of the blood
the slain prophet who prophesied destruction. “The voice
thy brother’s blood cries out to Me from the ground” was a
ment that constantly haunted Leivick from his early Siberian
nderings to his paralytic confinement, and he lyricized, versi-
d and exalted it to such a clarion warning that someday it
ll, it must be heard by the nations of the world.
And it is not only a question of crimson drops of blood. Can
u be happy, can you rest while humanity suffers from man’s
humanity to man? Can you even make peace with the Lord
the Universe while His creation, man, is suffering? Job’s cry
protest made the earth tremble, but as soon as the pain sub-
ed—even his outcry was muted
(In the Days of Job).
Even
e titanic figure of Job was subject to bodily limitations. But
ce man is sacred, so is his body, and no conscience can rest
ile the simplest, humblest, the least important man’s body