Page 122 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 40

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116
JEW ISH BOOK ANNUAL
Eastward,
Rabbi Nahman of Bratzlav breaks his contacts with
friends and relatives before his attempted migration to the Holy
Land and leaves his own family to the mercy of strangers: He is
convinced “there are no strangers in the world.”
In
The Seer Looks at H is Bride
Sackler dramatized an incident in
the life of a famed hasidic rabbi who eventually came to be known
as the Seer of Lublin. In the only novel of his multileveled literary
career, Martin Buber attempted to relate the spiritual biography
of that figure: It fascinated his imagination and awakened,
briefly, his novelistic talent. In three scenes of high tension Sack­
ler dramatized an important event in the life of the young rabbi —
an event which earned him the sobriquet The Seer of Lublin. As a
lad of eighteen and a disciple of Elimelekh of Lizensk he achieved
incipient fame which led to the mythologization of his personal­
ity. In the play, and it must have meant much to its creator
because he translated it from the Yiddish into English and He­
brew, Sackler justified an unusual custom for his protagonist: On
the day of his marriage to the daughter of a rich innkeeper he
insisted on seeing the bride before the ceremony. But when the
bride complied, the future Seer of Lublin refused to marry her.
For he had peered “behind the veil of destiny” and saw the face of
another. The father asserted his paternal authority and forced
the unwilling son into a marriage which promised to end in
disaster.
Scene II begins with a dialog between the Seer and his wife two
days after their marriage: “Do you know, Luba, that I was about to
go away . . . after I had looked at you . . . It would have been a
disgrace to both of us and a calamity to your father. Heaven be
praised that my father stopped me.” Luba’s coquettish reaction:
“Was it really your father that stopped you?” It is a tense dramatic
moment. In the course of the dialog the gentile lover, surmised by
the Seer, becomes a reality. The young master of the Manor
House on the outskirts of Krasnibrod has filled the innkeeper’s
daughter with imaginary pursuits of wealth and power, with a
prospective future as Lady of the Manor. The Seer hopes to win
her unshared love but he sees a cross over the heads of his young
wife and the young master of the Manor House. And he decides
to leave her and to return to his Lizensk: “The Evil One has made
this house his abode.”
Scene III begins with a dialog between Berke, the father of
Luba, and the Zaddik of Lizensk. The Seer has sent his daughter a