Page 83 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 31

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MORRIS / HAYYIM HAZAZ
plexity and tragedy of life and his own pain, frustration, pity,
and love. In his writings he analyzed the Jewish people in various
periods of their history. His works interpret in fiction what his-
torical events have meant to the Jewish people. In at least two
areas he filled important gaps in both Hebrew and world litera-
ture: his fictional accounts of the devastating effects of the Bol-
shevik Revolution on the Jewish town, and his stories of the
Yemenite Jews, which are significant both as sociological studies
and as literature.
In Hazaz’s work, one finds a multiplicity of plots, characteriza-
tions, historical backgrounds, and dialects, but he saw the
spiritual aspects of Jewish life as similar everywhere, despite
external differences effected by local environment. Whether the
story is about Jews in Israel, Yemen, the Ukraine, or Jewish en-
claves in Constantinople, in Paris, or seventeenth-century Ger-
many, it depicts the situation not as unique but as part of a
larger pattern that repeats itself. The personal lives of the char-
acters are also repetitive since they, too, participate in this
larger pattern.
H A ZA Z ’S D E L IN E A T IO N OF E X IL E A N D R E D E M P T IO N
Underlying this view is Hazaz’s premise that the lives and the
history of Jews everywhere have been conditioned by the same
factors: their unique experience of living in the Diaspora
{G a lu t) ,
and their ubiquitous hope for redemption (
G eu lah
).
His many delineations of the conditions of exile and redemption
were inherently similar because his own attitudes to
G a lu t
and
G eu lah
were generally consistent throughout his work.
Hazaz began dealing with his major themes in his earliest
works, “Mizeh u-Mizeh,” “Pirke Mahapekhah,” and “Shmuel
Frankfurter” (1924-25). These stories about the Bolshevik Revo-
lution later served as a basis for his classic about the revolutionary
period,
D a l to t N eh o sh e t
(1955). In these works he describes the
participation of some Jews in the Bolshevik Revolution as a
secular attempt at redemption, deriving from their schooling in
the Jewish belief in redemption. Hazaz sympathizes with the
idealistic goals of the Revolution, but he condemns the deteriora-
tion of the movement into a system of force and disregard for the