Page 92 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 36

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was at the time part of the O ttoman empire—to vindicate
himself were of no avail. Neither did the interventions in his
behalf by the influential Alliance Israelite Universelle and its
famous leader, Adolph Cremieux, produce any results (see
archival materials published by M. Rosen in
Hagu t Ivrit be-
1969, pp. 376-410).
Malbim’s autobiographical essay
Shenat ha-Yovel
Paris 1865, describes his tribulations in Bucharest.
This important Orthodox monthly issued under the editorship
of Jehiel Brill, published over the year various contributions
in prose and poetry from Malbim’s pen.
Malbim returned to Leczyca, his wife’s hometown, where
she had inherited a spacious home and some financial resources.
She engaged in a business venture in order to ease his anxieties
about rabbinical responsibilities. He was now free to devote full
time to study and writing. His
Mashal u-Melitzah,
a didactic
dramatization on the vice of hypocricy in poetic form, was
published by Jehiel Brill, Paris 1867. According to H.M.,
p. 274, Malbim authored about 800 other poetic compositions.
In 1867, he organized jointly with Rabbi Dov B. Meisels of
Warsaw and Jehiel Brill the Shomre To rah society to publish
manuscripts on Rabbinics by medieval scholars. Rabbenu Ha-
nanel’s commentary on tractate Pesahim was published as a re-
suit of this effort.
Malbim’s peace of m ind did not last long. He had to look
for a position and accepted a call from Kherson in Southern
Russia. Rabbi Shelomo David Posner, who was then a young
student in Leczyca, recalls in his
Eshed ha-Nahar
(New York,
Pardes, 1932, pp. 139-141), tha t on the day of his departure
Malbim, moved by the expressions of affection on the part
of the townspeople, pledged to return after a year. Indeed,
he soon learned that antagonistic maskilim and assimilation-
ists in Russia could be as obstructive as their comrades in Ru-
mania. Back in Leczyca, he consented to become Rabbi of the
community, despite earlier misgivings. Again, the squabbles
among the various factions led him to give up. He left town to
establish residence with his son-in-law in Smolensk.