Page 73 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 31

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SHAZAR / ON MAURICE SAMUEL
can so much more easily dominate those who have, as it were, one
foot outside the garden and look longingly into it.
Maurice Samuel and I were together at many public meetings
in the United States. I remember him very clearly at a Zionist
convention in Atlantic City when the platform was graced by
the leaders of those days—Stephen Wise was still alive and Abba
Hillel Silver in all his forcefulness. Samuel seemed the rebellious
youth among them, a flame of revolt emanating from him.
Always one saw him thirstily absorbing the best in our cul-
ture and then marvelously quenching the thirst of others. He
had a talent for discovering splendid sources and using them de-
votedly. He himself spoke of three men as having the greatest
formative influence upon him: Chaim Weizmann, Bialik, and
Shmarya Levin. He took much from each of them and served all
of them. They were the three most authentic Jewish personalities
he came in contact with and he was deeply attached to them.
Through them the soul of the Jewish people, he felt, was re-
vealed to him, and with love and devotion he became their trans-
lator, commentator, interpreter.
Captured by the splendor of Bialik as soon as he learnt to
know the poems, he took it upon himself to render some of the
greatest of them into English verse. He was Bialik’s English voice
with the same adoration as Jabotinsky was the Russian voice and
I. J. Schwartz the Yiddish voice and Muller the German voice.
Captured by Sholom Aleichem, he did something else—some-
thing more than translating individual stories. He was intoxicated
by the
wor ld
of Sholom Aleichem and reproduced it for those
who were without access to the original Yiddish and without
knowledge of the background. He recreated whole worlds in the
case of other writers, too: Peretz of whom he wrote in
Prince of
the G h e tto
,
and his great teacher, Shmarya Levin, whose memoirs
he turned into magnificent volumes of English autobiography.
From the center to the distant periphery, from one language to
another, he brought Jewish cultural achievement to “the sons
who had wandered away from their fathers’ table,” as the Hebrew
phrase puts it. He brought them not only crumbs but all that was
on the table and, one might say, the table itself, cherished by him
like the Ark of the Covenant in the wilderness.
When at Meyer [W.] Weisgal’s invitation he came to Rehovot
to help prepare
Tr ial and Error
for publication, he did so with