Page 38 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 41

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affection, always yearned for her child to attain independence .
Coddling and exaggerated care were no t as typical as they are
sometimes made ou t to be.
In o the r words, we are not only talking abou t a “distorted B ind­
ing” bu t a distorted represen tation o f the Jewish m o ther as well,
as a result o f ou r adop ting patterns, flctive o r real, derived from
the non-Jewish env ironm en t — i.e., gentile maladies to which we
have been exposed.
We must not assume tha t the Jewish People living in its own
land is immune from the sickness tha t we have described. T he
found ing generation o f Israel was mostly the p roduc t o f the
Emancipation, tha t generation which rebelled against the fa th e r ’s
authority. They nevertheless maintained the “m a ternal” element,
tha t is the element o f loyalty to
the people
and the
Devotion to
the home was transfe rred in the ir case to the national homeland.
In the Hebrew literature o f the first ha lf o f this century, th e re is a
s trong attachment to the image o f the m o ther as a means o f signi­
fying the attachment to the earth — Abraham Shlonsky in
“Jezree l” declares, “H ere will I stretch ou t supine, I will lie in
m o the r’s lap.” Zion itself becomes for Matityahu Shoham “a
m ou rn fu l Mother, unconsoled . . .” and Yitzhak Lamdan,
recalling the memory o f Masadah, exclaims, “What will you do,
poo r Mother, for your thirsty defenders. . . . ?” As a m a tte r o f
fact, many o f the leading poets o f the time were fatherless, so tha t
the ir sole suppo rt came from the mo ther who was also wife, She-
chinah (God’s presence), homeland and widow (See Haro ld
Fisch, “The Absent God
21, Fall 1972). In the writings o f
B renne r and many others o f his generation , we can detect some­
th ing o f an oedipal crisis threa ten ing the stability not only o f the
family bu t o f the people as well and its reb ir th in its own land.
Currently , this oedipal crisis has deepened among many o f the
m odern writers and we can begin to detect a sort o f recoil from
Zionism (i.e., rebellion against the Mother) bo rder ing upon
In the West, there are those who th ink tha t the family un it is on
its way out. This framework is though t to be no t essential to the