Page 78 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 47

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JEWISH BOOK ANNUAL
translated and transmitted to the Hebrew reading public by
scribes and publishers. Neither R. Schatz-Uffenheimer’s
Maggid
Devarav le-Ya’akov
(Jerusalem, Magnes Press, 1976), nor G.
Nig’al’s
Noam Elimelekh
(Jerusalem, Mosad Ha-Rav Kook, 1978),
can be said to fulfill completely our expectations in terms of
reliable text, sources, or interpretation. These two books, which
present the literary heritage of Rabbi Dov Ber, the famous Mag­
gid of Miezrich, and his disciple, Rabbi Elimelekh of Lyzhensk,
could have exemplified for later writers and editors the essential
elements of carefully edited hasidic works, but they have failed
in this regard.22
Every translation is also an interpretation, thus making A.
Green’s translation of Menahem Nahum of Chernobyl’s
Meor
Einayim
of especial value. Green translated and presented one
section of the book on Genesis and added another ethical text
of the hasidic master,
Hanhagot Yesharot
,23
This is an important
contribution to the sparse library of critical translations of
hasidic texts. We hope that Green’s edition, entitled
Menahem
Nahum of Chernobyl: Upright Practices, The Light of the Eyes
(Ramsey, NJ, Paulist Press, 1982), will be followed soon by the
rest of the master’s works in translation.
The last decade has been marked not only by critical editions
of hasidic texts, but also by a variety of studies of various aspects
of hasidism, ranging from a study of literary sources for hasidic
teachings, to an attempt to write the first critical biography of
a hasidic master. These studies encompass also efforts to deal
with anti-hasidic polemical writings and to analyze the history
and nature of hasidic tales.
A major contribution to the study of the great chain of hasidic
ideas was made by M. Piekarz in his
The Beginnings of Hasidism:
Ideological Trends in Derush and Musar Literature
(Jerusalem,
Mosad Bialik, 1978 [Hebrew]). Piekarz has shown that hasidic
ideas that are widely accepted as original have their roots in
earlier Jewish ethical literature. He has also renewed the old
discussion as to whether the message of Hasidism is that of
22. See my article, “Hasidism: the Present State o f Research and Some Desirable
Priorities,”
Numen
34(1987), pp. 179—213.
23. Concerning the genre o f
Hanhagot
(Regimen Vitae) and its employment
in literature see my forthcoming book,
The Conduct Literature, Its History
and Place in the Life of the Followers of Rabbi Israel Baal Shem Tov
(Jerusalem,
Mosad Bialik, 1989 [Hebrew]).