Page 145 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 39

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JACOB K. MIKLISZANSKI
Simon Rawidowicz —A Spiritual
Portrait
On the Occasion of the 25th Anniversary of His Death
S
im o n
R
aw id o w ic z
w a s
one of the towering figures in both He­
brew literature and Jewish thought in the first half of this century.
His brilliant mind was coupled with a highly creative gift of
literary expression. His vocabulary was rich and zestful; his style
dynamic and often overpowering; his reasoning strong and com­
pelling; his polemics provocative and witty; his manner of dis­
course well rooted in rabbinical tradition; his knowledge encyc­
lopedic; and last but not least, the emotional impact of his power­
ful message was, Jewishly speaking, of most inspiring genuine­
ness.
Rawidowicz was also a very prolific writer; he did not believe in
shortened versions, but preferred to spell out in full and even to
reiterate whatever he felt compelled to say. Thus his magnum
opus,
Babylon and Jerusalem, Towards a Philosophy of Israel's Whole­
ness,1
extends over 909 packed and abundantly annotated pages.
It encompasses a host of issues that are discussed with amazing
exhaustiveness. In sheer voluminousness and range of subject-
matter it stands out as one of its kind in contemporary Hebrew
scholarship.
Rawidowicz’s own migrations reflect in a way the actuality of
Jewish dispersion with which he was so much concerned:
Grajewo, Poland (where he was born in 1896); Bialystok; Berlin;
London; Leeds; Jerusalem; Chicago; Boston (where he died in
1957 while professor of Hebrew literature and Jewish philosophy
at Brandeis University). Similarly, the topics of his scholarly in­
terests are marked by dispersion in time: Saadia; Maimonides;
1 Ararat Publishing Society, London — Waltham, Mass. 1957, 2 vols.
139