Page 94 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 36

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JEWISH BOOK ANNUAL
8 6
chug, Poltawa district. No reason is given in the existing sources
as to why he decided to leave Koenigsberg.
In considering Malbim’s many moves the question naturally
arises: were his difficulties in the various communities in-
variably due to the conduct and attitudes of the people there?
I t is known that Hasidim and hasidic leaders, with few notable
exceptions, shunned his commentaries. They suspected tha t
Malbim’s rationalizing tendencies might contribute to the un-
dermining of spontaneous piety, an attitude reminiscent of
the anti-Maimonidean controversies in the Middle Ages. Such
an attitude was undoubtedly a factor in creating a hostile climate
of opinion against Malbim in some communities. Mogilev was
an exception. T he hasidic groups in tha t city were among
Malbim’s staunchest supporters and followers. Coolness and
suspicion emanating from the “right of the spectrum” together
with overt antagonism from the “left” may account for much
of the dilemma. Nonetheless one wonders: was there anything
in Malbim’s personal bearing or manner which could provoke
resentment, irrespective of ideological stands? Admiring writers
like Yashar and Posner do not raise such questions, bu t an
objective student of history cannot avoid them. Hopefully,
answers may be forthcoming from additional research.
On his way to Kremenchug Malbim was welcomed with be-
fitting honor by Jewish communities wherever he happened to
stop. Vilna even offered him the post of “city maggid” after
a large crowd listened to his lecture (cf. H.M., p. 275). Again,
the maskilim objected and threatened with government inter-
vention. Malbim succumbed to a debilitating illness first in
Kobrin, then in Kiev. There he expired on the first day of Rosh
Hashanah, 5640—September 6, 1879.
O THER WORKS
In addition to the works mentioned above, Malbim authored
the following:
1.
Artzot ha-Shalom,
Krotoszyn 1839; collection of 9 sermons
based upon biblical texts, each preceded by a poetic in-
troduction.
2.
Eretz Hemdah ,
Warsaw 1881; collection of sermons on the