Page 140 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 33

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130
JEWISH BOOK ANNUAL
people had the most profound reverence for learning and
respect for the learned.”
The third source derived from the new ideologies sweeping
through the Jewish communities of Eastern Europe, which
affected even Steibtz by the turn of the century. There, too, the
young men and women quarreled amongst themselves and with
their parents over assimilation, socialism and the new political
Zionism of Dr. Herzl, and young Zalman Rubashov and his
family were not spared these vexations. By the time of his Bar
Mitzvah, he was determined to pursue secular studies; he had
already become a leader in the local Poale (Labor) Zion group.
A remarkable document in my files attests to Shazar’s precocity.
At age 10 he edited, produced and distributed a Hebrew news­
paper called
Yarchon,
reporting on local and “international”
events. Though short-lived, it evidenced his predilection for
public and Zionist activity.
FACETS OF SHAZAR’S PERSONAL ITY
Hasidut, traditional Judaism, love of learning, socialism, Zion­
ism—these were to be permanent facets of Zalman Shazar’s per­
sonality. He carried his original sources with him, never relin­
quishing the convictions of his youth. In
M orning Stars
we meet
the varied and sometimes contradictory elements Shazar managed
to incorporate in a harmonious view of the world and himself.
Perhaps most poignant is the account of his reconciliation with
his disapproving grandfather shortly before his first visit to
Palestine some six months before the old man’s death. He ad­
monished Shazar that the melody of the Old Rav never leaves a
true Habad Hasid; it is a sign that the soul and the melody are
in harmony:
In all the perplexities of my life whenever I have suddenly wished
to remember the melody of the Old Rav . . . I have felt new strength
welling up within me each time, evidence that my direction is
right. All despair conquered, I have gone my way in hope and inner
peace.2
Although Shazar left Steibtz at age fifteen, the experiences and
spirit of Steibtz never left him, especially the reverence for learn­
ing and the conviction that the stamp of eternity was to be found
2
Ibid. ,
p. 200.