Page 21 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 35

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ORLINSKY / TO GIVE VOICE TO THE SILENCE OF THE PAST
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suming, of course, that it is to be found there, any Christian
scholar, who is at home in the language and the subject
matter is not able to find. . . . Among the entire body of
Jews there is not a single piece of lterature or an oral tradi­
tion which is inaccessible to learned Christians. The Jews
make no effort whatsoever to conceal anything from the
Christians, nor could they i f they would. The Talmud, the
Shulhan Aruk, and other Jewish literary works are secret
books only for those—Jews no less than Christians—who
have not acquired the necessary studies for a reading of the
original texts nor know anything about the translations
that are in existence. For such people Caesar’s Bellum Gal-
licum w ill be equally a secret book . . .
So you now have an idea of how important it is for the Jewish
community, everywhere, to make public and accessible to every­
one, Jews and non-Jews alike, all its literary creations, without
stint.
OUR FUTURE TASKS
This is ,however, only ha lf the battle, and the juxtaposition of
our Opening Day Convocation and the Dedication of the Frances-
Henry L ibrary points this up extremely well. A library building,
shelves, books, catalogues, librarians, staff, and the like—all these
we take for granted. In this respect, I know that anyone who
wishes to make use of this library w ill find that one of the ad­
monitions of our previously mentioned Judah ibn Tibbon to his
son w ill be heeded. He wrote: “I have honored you by providing
an extensive library for your use, and have thus relieved you of
the necessity to borrow books. Most students must bustle about
to seek books, often w ithout finding them. But you, thanks to
God, lend and borrow not. Of many books, indeed, you own
two or three copies. . . . So never refuse to lend books to anyone
who has not the means to purchase books for himself, but only
act thus to those who can be trusted to return the volumes. . . .”
However, to give meaning and life to a library, we need
scholars and students and inquisitive laymen who w ill make
use of it. And these, too, are now forthcoming. A decade and
a ha lf ago, in a Commencement Address for the Hebrew Teach­
ers College of Boston, I expressed the opinion that the American-