Page 66 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 32

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58
JEWISH BOOK ANNUAL
facts
and of the problems connected with the choice of the
rele­
vant
ones.
Finally, one should manifest a little compassion for the “poor”
historian! As a human being he is subject to the maxim of “Man
proposes, God disposes.” What he achieves in his work often
differs from what he intended. And when his material is ready
for the press the historian, attuned as he is to the past, may now­
adays often be confronted with the newest invention, the com­
puter, that sets and prints his book. Being of the new age, the
“young” computer, like present-day youthful students, is op­
posed to “learning” foreign languages, has spelling problems,
and insists on the freedom to do things in its own way—trans­
ferring to the next line the last letter of the last word of the
preceding line, or putting accents on the wrong letters. It hates
Polish and other Slavic names and titles, and disregards Hebrew
and Yiddish. Only by sheer stubborn persistence does the his­
torian prevent the printed text from falling into the category
characterized by the Polish Jews as JP'HJI 7
nj (making sev­
en mistakes in spelling the two-letter Hebrew word Noah—here
meant as a metaphor for a text abounding with misprints). In
subduing that modern monster, that
Golem-c
omputer, the his­
torian may be said to have earned his prize by his very survival.