Page 98 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 28

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J
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B
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A
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In one passage this friend says:
In every generation many have asked, “How long?” “Until
when?” But Rabbi Yehudah was the first,
Rishon le-Zion,
who
stood up and said, “Enough!” Not only with the sweetness of
his poems and prayers, bu t with his body and soul he taught
us the great and only truth of breaking exile. He stood up
as a living example and broke the walls of exile. Today, po-
tentially; tomorrow—in fact. Today, very few, tomorrow, many
hosts. This is the meaning of the repetition in the verse,
Bet Yaakov Lekhu, Ve-Nelkhah
—“Let us go on all the roads,
let us go in all the times, let us go in all situations.”
Burla describes Rabbi Yehudah Halevi as a man who lives by
his strong religious belief and by his poetry. But his poetic spirit
may wane in great distress over the destruction of the Holy Land
and the bitter fate of the Jewish people. At such times Halevi
escapes from the world of poetry into the world of faith, and his
disciple voices the fervent hope, “May we hear from him again
the new poetic message.” On the day Halevi is felled by a mur-
derous hand, his disciples find a few pages in his handwriting,
saying: “. . . . for the metamorphosis; for redemption; I am happy
with my fate.” His last words are, “A day will come and the people
of Israel, masses of them . . . Hear, O Israel, God is our God, God
is One.
Author of a Rich Harvest
Yehuda Burla has produced a rich literary harvest over a period
of more than forty years. Being a consummate story teller and a
master of dialogue, he acquired a wide readership very early in
his career. His rich style and language reflects all the good attri-
butes of prose written by a man with a musical ear and an eye
for color, light and shade. Brenner's hopes were vindicated even
beyond his compliment that “Hebrew literature has acquired a
Chekhov.” Burla is not a Chekhov for many reasons, one being
that Burla is the painter of the broad canvas, the story teller of
the flowing epic saga. Wherever there is color, there is sometimes
a plethora of it; where there is a flow, there is sometimes an over-
flow. On the other hand, it would be unjust to call him a realist
of any school be it Chekhovian or French (a la Maupassant or
Flaubert), despite his admiration for those masters.
His main achievement lies in bringing into Hebrew literature
a whole host of characters, men and women, young and old, who
faithfully mirror the inner life and struggles of the Oriental Jew-
ish community: their dreams and passions, their sufferings and
hopes, their confrontations with fate and their deep roots in Jewish
beliefs and traditions. Burla is at his best in plumbing the indi­