Page 139 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 38

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RA \ID / GETZEL KRESSEL
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longer remain in the small towns and so moved to the big cities.
They had only one desire in the ir hearts — to continue to advance
in the ir studies.
Sokolow was such a self-made man who achieved renown in
various fields o f literary and scholarly endeavor. In ou r own time,
the autodidact has become a rare species indeed. Kressel, who is
largely self-educated, is an ou tstanding example o f such a suc­
cessful type. He is a great adm irer o f Sokolow, who has served
him as a prototype, and he has contributed to a revival o f interest
in Sokolow’s works. T he three-volume collection o f Sokolow’s
writings, which he edited, represents a remarkable contribution
to Hebrew literature.
SOKOLOW PROJECT
Various writers and scholars before Kressel had stressed the
great need o f publishing at least a selected edition o f Sokolow’s
essays, but the task o f collecting his innumerable articles which
were scattered in a variety o f jou rna ls and publications was awe­
inspiring. The Hebrew poet Bialik wrote tha t if someone were to
undertake the project o f gathering all o f Sokolow’s writings he
would need to have th ree hund red camels to carry them. Kressel
accomplished this task by him self. T h e th re e volumes o f
Sokolow’s works which he edited comprise 1,700 pages, bu t even
the quantity o f pages hardly describes the quality o f the task.
Kressel added in terpre tations to the text without which many
references would remain obscure. He added a detailed index of
the names and the subjects dealt with in the three volumes.
However, the most instructive par t o f the work is Kressel’s in tro ­
duction, which constitutes virtually a monograph . This in troduc­
tion is crucial to ou r understand ing o f the period in which
Sokolow lived. I t follows the development o f the Zionist move­
ment from its early Hibbat Zion period to the emergence of
political Zionism and the first Zionist Congress. It illumines also
the pe rson a litie s o f H erz l an d W e izm ann , and eva lua tes
Sokolow’s presidency o f the Zionist movement.
Kressel’s readers will always be grateful to him for involving
them in a spiritual jou rney in which many “worlds” are discov­
ered. It should be added that his clear Hebrew style adds greatly
to the joy o f discovery. As indicated, one learns much about