Page 140 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 44

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matters!”21 This is the voice of the impassioned Lover of Zion
Sholem Rabinovitsh in 1884.
The generation of subject matter is, of course, the feuilleton­
ist’s first problem. How does the author keep his series going in
the fifth letter? He does so by, in effect, dropping Leybele, who
having been converted to the T ru th can — and does — prove
only tedious in his remaining letter, the eighth. At leisure in the
Leybele learns from new acquaintances with the help
of an interpreter. For most of the fifth letter, Leybele narrates the
life story of Marcus Seligman. This is a cautionary tale on the
theme of the evils of materialism and social climbing. Motl
Zeligman becomes Mortkhe Zeligman who becomes Marcus
Seligman and dreams of becoming Mark Vladimirovitsh Zelig-
manov. Someone liked the story enough to get the Hebrew Pub­
lishing Company of New York to publish it as a separate (unda­
ted) work by Sholem-Aleykhem entitled “Der ufgekumener gvir”
(The Parvenu Rich Man). It is not listed in any Sholem-Aleykhem
bibliography and I do not know whether it was printed with the
author’s permission.
Velvele in the sixth letter introduces us to the misanthropic
Berele, whose life story we learn. Sholem-Aleykhem’s much­
loved lottery theme is beautifully treated in the account of
Berele’s parents, Zusye and Zisl.22 Velvele-Rabinovitsh’s narra­
tive momentarily becomes dialog and the following play-in-little
— When does our ticket come up, Zusye? — Asks Zisl.
— The day after tomorrow, Zisl. — Answers Zusye.
— We ought to win at least a hundred!
— What are you talking about, Zisl?
— Well, two hundred.
— Rather than that, better nothing!
— Alright, six hundred, Zusye?
— I’m not interested, Zisl!
— Well, a thousand, Zusye?
— I’m not interested, not interested!
— Well, Zusye darling, two thousand . . .
— 2000? I don’t need it, I don’t want it!
— Goodness, enough, Zusye! People have big eyes. That is
Ale verk,
Vol. 1, pp. 116-117.
Ale verk,
Vol. 1, pp. 94-109.