Page 87 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 41

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KAHN / ANO THER BIALIK
81
This in terp re ta tion must be deliberate on Nevo’s part, since
Bialik’s language here is very clear. Snowman made it:
T he eyes o f the youth opened — the struggle was
reflected in them . . . He gazed lovingly to where the girl was
standing; he was in a fever o f te rro r .
Both Aronin and Beinkinstadt seem to me more faithful than
e ither o f the above to the plain sense o f the poet’s words; I shall
quote Beinkinstadt:
And the eyes o f the youth were opened — and
light and
flame wrestled within them. . .
. And the youth lifted up his eyes
with a pining hea r t towards the place o f the maiden, while
shuddering and bu rn ing th roughou t his whole being (my
italics).
W ithout elaborating the point, I should say that, at this climac­
tic moment, the struggle within the you th’s soul between
zohar
and
shalheveth
is between good and evil; the heavenly radiance
and splendor, and Satanic fires; the light o f Heaven, and the
flames o f Hell. To eliminate this difference here, and merge the
two in “a blaze o f light,” may be a pretty bit o f romanticism, but it
falsifies Bialik. Paradoxically, for a m odern in terpre tation , this
merging seems to me a bit sentimental — whereas the poet main­
tains his dramatic tensions and ironies to the very end: “the cup o f
speechless sorrow” never fills up, and he remains “toge ther with
the whole world in his g rea t grief o f a hum an being, alone.” So
Nevo; and Bialik italicized the words
yagon ha-yahid
— which
A ronin rendered : “T h e sorrow o f the one-alone.” Ratosh pointed
ou t tha t when the cup o f sorrow will be full the Messiah will come
— as the Yiddish poet Frug wrote in “T he Cup ,” where a boy is
speaking:
“And one day, do you know, mother,
When the cup is fu l l of tears,
The Redeemer o f the world will come,
For whom we pray all these years.
(Joseph Leftwich)
So long as the struggle between Light and Flame continues within
us, we remain far from the Messianic Age.
I f I have begun to wander into the jung les o f Bialik in te rp re ta ­
tion, it has been with the promp ting and help o f Professor Nevo’s