Page 144 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 50

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136
JEWISH BOOK ANNUAL
FATHER IMAGE
It is difficult to be sure that Vogel’s deference to his father’s
memory or his lament at the passage of youth mark unique
grief for a lost
traditional
past. Feierberg, Tomer and Amichai
are explicit in this regard, unequivocally providing the equation
of father and Judaism, while in “I saw my father” Vogel dis­
tinguishes between the father and the “holy ones.” Only once
does he acknowledge that his father taught him about God.20
Moshe Hano’omi accuses him of feebleness, passivity, sickliness
and effeminacy, arguing that his weakness is a result of his in­
ability to fill the gap left by the absence of tradition, a perceived
commonplace in the lives of Vogel’s Hebrew contemporaries.21
The notion of departure from or forsaking of Jewish tradition,
the
kera
(split) which became the motivation for so much Hebrew
literature of the time and, in fact, for the development of the
modernist impulse in this literature, is attributed willy nilly to
a contemporary poet. This is perhaps due to the ingrained crit­
ical fear of severing Hebrew literature from its bond with Jewish
tradition, or the need to underpin it with the guilt of separation,
in line with the ideological focus of the time.
A father-son conflict is not entirely absent from Expressionist
literature, albeit for different reasons, and from different social
derivations. Richard Sheppard’s view that in Expressionist d ra­
mas “the father symbolized all the forms of repressive and in­
sensitive authority which had to be smashed if the son were
to realize himself’22 has a less brutal analogy in the Hebrew
literature of the time. However, not only saintly abandoned fa­
thers but repressive and insensitive fathers were frequently
functional in the lives of the defecting Jewish intellectual sons,
the new “apostates.”23 The Jewish fathers’ influence was
grounded elsewhere than in ruthless industrialization but was
no less oppressive for that, with the inevitable consequence of
spiritual rebellion on the part of the sons. Vogel’s nostalgic re ­
20. David Vogel.
Le-ever ha-demamah,
ed. Aharon Komem. Tel Aviv: Hakibbutz
Hameuhad, 1983, 239.
21. Hano’omi,
op. cit.
22. Bradbury and MacFarlane, op. cit.,
277.
23. See Alan Mintz.
Banished from Their Father’s Table. Loss o f Faith and Hebrew
Autobiography.
Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press,
1989, 148, 82-84.