Page 136 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 39

Basic HTML Version

130
JEWISH BOOK ANNUAL
nearby, as if to ask: “What can I say?” Then, according to the
eyewitness,
we see his lips move, and I hear him pronounce in Hebrew
the
berakhah
in full, each word in place,
Barukh attah adonai
elohenu melekh ha-olam she-heheyanu we-qiyyemanu we-higicanu
la-zeman ha-zeh,
and there is no need to explain why and
wherefore. And there is no need to translate. The
berakhah
came like a symbolic identification with the Jewish people in
all generations.43
At that moment, it would seem, the conservationist had acted as
would a conservative, and one recalls Kallen’s statement to the
effect that Solomon “Schechter’s romantic militancy exercised a
compelling contagion” on him. Schechter as well as Joseph Jacobs
who moved Kallen deeply, fused an idealism and a realism in
their vision of Jewry’s destiny. Kallen called them his “friendly
enemies.” But he admitted that “I cannot separate their paternity
of these perspectives from mine.”44
Early in October 1970 Kallen sent me, with a
le-shanah tovah
inscription, a two-page statement reproduced by the Medical
Society of Pennsylvania and superscribed
Over 65.
Here Kallen
answers the question whether he had any special philosophy for
getting the most out of the years after 65. He interprets the query
as implying the validity of the American convention “that
superannuates people at the age of sixty-five.” To Kallen, 65 is
not the boundary where lives turn upon diminishing ways. An
attitude toward existence is involved here, one which is acquired,
not innate, imposed rather than chosen. His message follows:
There are persons who shape their lives by a fear of death,
and persons who shape their lives by a joy of life. The
former live dying. The latter die living. The latter, con­
sequently, achieve “life more abundant”; it is they who fig­
ure in their societies as significantly after sixty-five as before
sixty-five.
43 Judah Pilch, “Horace M. Kallen — Ha-Adam” (Horace M. Kallen, the Man),
Hadoar,
50 (October 1, 1971), 717 f.
44 Kallen,
Judaism at Bay,
p. 248.