Page 80 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 29

Basic HTML Version

J
e w i s h
B
o o k
A
n n u a l
74
Some hasidic groups considered Nahman’s followers suspect and
even initiated boycotts against the “toite” (dead) hasidim, nick-
named so because they would acknowledge no other rabbi after the
master’s death. Nahman's
Sippure Maasiyot,
to his followers sym-
bols of cosmic and eschatological mysteries, were ridiculed by the
maskilim as wild tales in barbarous Hebrew. There is a tradition,
however, that Nahman was personally in friendly relations with
the maskilim of Uman (recorded in Samuel Hurwitz’s
Sippurim
Niflaim,
Jerusalem, 1935). This tradition is critically evaluated by
Hayim Lieberman in
Yivo Bleter
(vol. 29, 1947, pp. 201-219).
After the appearance of the
Sippure Maasiyot
in 1815, Joseph
Perl, the leader of the Galician Haskalah, decided to publish a
direct caricature on it. He prepared for printing “The missing
end” of Nahman’s story of the Lost Princess, as well as a “sequel”
called the “Lost Prince.” They were to appear in a Hebrew version
on top of the page with a Yiddish version in the lower half, just
as in Nahman’s tales, to deceive the hasidim and delight the
“Enlightened.” Perl never published the satire. The manuscript
underwent an extraordinary history before it was finally published
by the Israel Academy of Sciences under the title
Maasiyot ve-lgrot
(Jerusalem, 1970) in an elaborate and critical edition by Chone
Shmeruk and Shmuel Werses.
Hasidim Spread Their Master’s T orah
Undaunted, Nahman’s hasidim carried on their mission to
spread the Torah of their Master. Nathan Sternharz of Nemirov’s
major work was
L ikku te Halakhot,
a commentary on the
Shulhan
Arukh
in the light of Rabbi Nahman’s teachings. This eight vol-
ume work took forty years in printing (the last volume appeared in
1861 in Lemberg). When Nathan realized he could not achieve its
printing “underground” (having been arrested a number of times
at the instigation of the maskilim), he had his faithful disciple
Nahman Hazan of Tulchin smuggle the manuscript out of Russia
for printing abroad in Galicia and Rumania and then smuggle
the finished “product” back into Russia. The story is told fully
by Nathan Zvi Kenig in his
Neveh Tzaddikim
(Bene Berak, 1969).
Nahman Goldstein of Chihirin (died 1893) is the author of the
most important commentary on Nahman’s “Discourses” under the
titles
Parparaot le-Hakhmah
(Lemberg, 1876) and
R im ze ha
-
Maasiyot
, allegorical interpretations of Nahman’s tales which are
included in all editions beginning in 1902.
Nahman Hazan of Tulchin died in 1884. His son Abraham Ha-
zan (died 1917) is the author of
Yeme ha-Telaot
(Jerusalem, 1933),
an account of Nathan’s difficult years, 1835-1839;
Hakhmah
u-Tevunah
(Bene Berak, 1962), interpretations of Rabbi Nah-