Page 87 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 46

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DORON / HASIDIC AND FOLKLORISTIC MOTIFS
79
once clever an d yet simple an d exp resses p ro fo u n d ethical sen ­
tim en ts an d a y e a rn in g to u n ite with th e “Ein Sof.” 1 T r u e , most
o f th e hasidic ideas an d values o f M e ltzer’s ballads may a lready
be fo u n d , in one fo rm o r a n o th e r , in the Bible an d th e T a lm u d ,
as we shall see in th e exam p les th a t follow. However, it was
left to M eltzer to im p a r t to th em a hasidic flavor an d a tm o s­
p h e re .
We p roceed now to a discussion o f several o f the ballads an d
th e ir m a jo r motifs. T h ey a re all inc luded in M e ltzer’s vo lum e
en titled
Or Zarua
(L igh t Is Sown), which has gone th ro u g h sev­
era l ed itions.
1. “A PORT ION OF GOD FROM ABOVE”
T h e ballad
Dobush and the Baa l Shem Tov
stresses th a t sparks
o f holiness a re fo u n d even in the most d e g en e ra te o f m en and
th a t they strive to u n ite with the In f in ite , whence they o r ig i­
na ted . Dobush , a b r ig an d ch ie f who sp en t a lifetim e killing and
robb ing in no c en t peop le , realizes in “th e even ing o f his life”
th a t all the gold an d silver an d jewels he amassed will no t avail
him on th e day o f ju d gm e n t . He th e re fo re comes to th e Baal
Shem Tov in his old age an d begs him to save his soul from
the “bottom less p it ,” i.e., from G ehenna . F rom a materialistic
po in t o f view, Dobush lacks no th ing : “H e has the pow e r and
d om in ion . . . Is th e re au g h t th a t he desires th a t is beyond the
reach o f his boys?” However, Dobush realizes th a t n e i th e r his
“boys” n o r his wealth will avail him on the day o f ju d gm e n t :
“All these p u t to g e th e r — a re they no t all in vain? Will his
boys save h im on th e day they will b r in g him to ju s tice . . .
Will his m oney save h im ?” T h is passage echoes the Psalm ist’s
s ta tem en t: “Do no t fe a r when one becomes rich , when th e glory
o f his house increases; fo r when he dies, he shall ca rry no th in g
away: his g lory shall no t descend a f te r h im .”2
A n o th e r , less c en tra l idea in this legend is: “D ep a r t from evil
an d do g o od ,”3 namely: f irs t one m us t “d e p a r t from evil,” ab an ­
don th e sin, an d only th en can one “do g ood .” T h e re fo re , the
1 “Literally the “No End,” a Kabbalistic term designating God the transcend­
ent, in Himself, apart from His relationship to the created world. Cf.,
Encyc.
Judaica,
vol. 6, col. 535 (G. Scholem).
2 Psalms 49:17-18.
3 Psalms 34:15.